Since 2002, anticipating the annual announcement of the Nobel Prizes, Clarivate Analytics has unveiled its own yearly selection of Nobel-worthy candidates: the Citation Laureates. These elite researchers, whose achievement and influence have been confirmed by their citation records in the Web of Science™, constitute a special club – scientists who are “of Nobel class” and likely to receive a summons to Sweden someday to collect science’s highest award.
Early in October, that day arrived for four Citation Laureates, marking successful 2016 predictions in three of the four Nobel categories the Laureates represent: Physiology or Medicine, Chemistry and Economic Sciences.
In the first category, Yoshinori Ohsumi, selected as a Citation Laureate in 2013, took sole possession of this year’s Nobel for his groundbreaking work on cellular autophagy. This process, whose name translates as “self eating,” involves the degradation and recycling of cellular components – a fundamental operation in cellular housekeeping. Irregularities in autophagy have also attracted wide attention for their role in various diseases.
In Chemistry, J. Fraser Stoddart, named as a Citation Laureate in 2002, was one of three researchers to share the 2016 prize. Like his co-winners, Stoddart was honored for the development of nano-scaled machines – molecular devices that are expected to find application in sensing, power storage and new materials.
In Economics, both of this year’s Nobel honorees had previously won distinction as Citation Laureates in 2006. Oliver D. Hart and Bengt R. Holmström have made key contributions to the theory and practice of contracts, the complex agreements that bind relationships in business and other spheres.
Adding this quartet of honorees to the roster of Citation Laureates who have gone on to win the prize brings the total of successful Nobel predictions, since the first group of Laureates was selected in 2002, to 43.
Although the Nobel Committee failed to recognize any of the Citation Laureates in Physics in 2016, next year’s prizes constitute another opportunity, as the researchers who have already made the grade according to Clarivate Analytics await Nobel recognition.