Citation Laureates 2018: Celebrating 50 successful Nobel forecasts

With the recent announcement of the 2018 Nobel Prize recipients, Clarivate Analytics marked a special achievement of its own. Since 2002, Clarivate has presented an annual selection of Citation Laureates. These are scientists whose work has earned distinction and acclaim in the eyes of their peers, as demonstrated by an unusually high rate of citations to their papers, tracked in the Web of Science. These citation totals, typically associated with a major discovery or advance, mark these individuals as researchers of Nobel class and as likely future recipients of science’s highest honor, the Nobel Prize.

And indeed, over the years the ranks of Citation Laureates have consistently yielded scientists who have answered a summons to Sweden to receive a Nobel Prize. On two occasions, the last in 2013, the recipients of all four prizes in the Nobel science categories had been previously forecast by Clarivate for Nobel honors. In other years, perhaps one or two of the prizes included Citation Laureates. The accumulation of successful selections, however, has been steady.


On two occasions, the recipients of all four prizes in the Nobel science categories had been previously forecast by Clarivate for Nobel honors.”


Which brings us to the 2018 prizes, when James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo in Medicine or Physiology, and Paul Romer and William D. Nordhaus in Economics, brought the total of successful Nobel picks to 50.

Of course, actually predicting the Nobel Prize recipients in any given year is a very tall order, since the awards typically recognize work produced several decades ago. Naming the Nobel Laureates of a specific year is something we leave to Mr. Uri Geller.

Nevertheless, the selection of Citation Laureates has frequently anticipated the Nobel announcements by a short interval. Eight honorees, for example, were selected as Citation Laureates three years prior to their Nobel Prizes. Twenty Clarivate selections (including this year’s Medicine recipients, Allison and Honjo) had only a two-year wait before receiving the Nobel call. And nine were named as Citation Laureates and, in very short order, Nobel laureates in the same year.

In all, the Citation Laureates demonstrate that informed analysis of citations is a powerful technique for assessing research performance, directly capturing the peer approbation and esteem generated by significant, influential work.

Visit the Citation Laureates website to review this year’s selections as well as to see the previous honorees who are still in the running for a future Nobel Prize. Also, in the “Researcher resources” area, learn about upcoming webinars devoted to the topic of world-class researchers.