Two UWE Bristol researchers amongst world's leading scientific minds

Issue date: 15 August 2014

Two scientists from the University of the West of England have been listed in a report called 'Highly Cited Researchers 2014' that highlights 3,200 of the world's leading scientific minds.

Professor Steven Neill and Professor John Hancock, experts in plant and animal science in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences at UWE Bristol, are included in the report that was released this month.

Highly cited researchers earned this distinction by writing the greatest numbers of scientific papers officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as Highly Cited Papers—ranking among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact.

Professor Neill said, “Citation by peers, as in referencing previously published papers in current ones, is a very meaningful way of valuing research work as it demonstrates its influence on the research field. It is gratifying and somewhat humbling to be included in such an esteemed list, but great that UWE's research, in which many of our students participate, is recognised internationally. We join five scientists from the University of Bristol who were also included on this list.”

Professors Neill and Hancock are long-time collaborators whose research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Councils, the UK Government, the EU and various charities. Their work addresses how organisms detect and respond to environmental signals such as drought or pathogen challenge and convert such stimuli into biological responses through the generation and action of internal signalling molecules. Of particular interest have been the hormone abscisic acid, the oxidative stress signal hydrogen peroxide and the gases nitric oxide and hydrogen sulphide, especially during plant responses to water shortage. These signals help plants to survive periods of stress and harnessing their effects is one of the mechanisms available to maintain crop production and address the key 'grand challenge' of global food security.

Thomson Reuters put together the report using a new approach to finding influential researchers and surveyed field-by-field during the past 11 years from 2002-2012. Rather than using total citations as a measure of influence or 'impact,' only Highly Cited Papers were considered. Highly Cited Papers are those that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year indexed in the Web of Science, which is generally but not always year of publication.

The resulting report, 'The world's most influential scientific minds: 2014', lists 3,200 individuals across 21 fields who have published the highest-impact work that is most frequently acknowledged by their peers. These papers rank in the top one per cent by citation for their field and year of publication.

In the report Thomson Reuters said, “The identification of these individuals is rooted in the collective, objective opinions of the scientific community. Fellow scientists, through their citations, give credit to these people and their work.”

See the Highly Cited Researchers 2014 web pages to find out more about the methods used to determine the researchers included in the report.


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