Find the top authors in a research field: What you need to know

Our blog to help you find top authors is part of our Research Smarter series. This series is dedicated to helping you get familiar with your research field. Download our cheat sheet, which brings together top tips for finding relevant journals, papers, and authors in a field. You can also read the related blog posts for each, here.

Before starting any academic writing effort, it is important to get familiar with the shining stars in your research field. The established, prolific and emerging researchers each contribute to the scholarly conversation. It’s up to you to learn who they are and what they achieved in order to further their ideas.

The Web of Science™ makes it easy to find these leading authors, and confidently assess their output and associated citation impact thanks to the built-in citation network. This blog will help you uncover:


Find specific researchers and their paper

 You will likely have a few researchers in mind when beginning your author search. The Web of Science’s Author Search helps you easily find researchers and their publications in the Web of Science Core Collection™ – regardless of how common or complex their name, or how their name may be presented in different publications over time.

Start your search by entering the full name of the researcher you’re looking for or enter their ResearcherID or ORCiD. These are persistent author identifiers that help to distinguish researchers from their peers, and to ensure a researcher’s work is correctly attributed to them.

You will then be taken to the researcher’s Author Record. This is an initial snapshot of the author’s publications, citation impact and citing articles in the Core Collection, which is based on the intersection of a machine learning algorithm and human curation via Publons™ and ORCID.


Author record on Web of Science to help you find top authors in your field


Author Records enable you to discover a researcher’s published work and assess their output and associated impact. If you want to dig even deeper, simply click the “View as a set of results to export, analyze, and link to full text” button at the top of the page. You will be directed to a new results page where you can filter and refine the author’s publications, as well as make use of the Analyze Results tool, all of which we discuss below.

You can learn more about Author Search via our Quick Reference Guide or try it out now.


Find the most prolific authors in your field

The Analyze Results tool in the Web of Science helps you discover who the established authors are in your field. They also help you dig deeper into any known and specific author. You can discover the top authors for any keyword search, their organizational affiliation and even the funding agencies they’re most commonly associated with. This tool also reveals the top co-authors for any researchers or group authors for any topic. You can also analyze your results by timespan, which delivers insight into an author’s full body of work.

Access Analyze Results from the results page of any Web of Science keyword search or via an Author Record as described in the section above. Learn more about the tool’s capabilities   or by watching the video below.

Watch out Analyze Results video to help find top authors in your field


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Discover top authors of Hot and Highly Cited Papers in your field

Find top authors in your field by filtering your search resultsThere are two filters on the Web of Science that will really help you get to know the leading researchers in your field: Highly Cited in Field and Hot Papers in Field.

Citation counts are a traditional and key measure of scholarly impact. While no metric is perfect in understanding the influence of a researcher as a whole, citations can help. Citations enable you to gauge the research community’s interest in a given paper. They also help signal the impact this work has within a particular discipline or across fields. This impact can either be recent and highlighted as a Hot Paper, or more sustained as a Highly Cited Paper™.

To view the authors of both Highly Cited and Hot Papers, simply:

  1. Start a Topic Search
  2. Refine your results by Hot or Highly Cited Papers (located on the left-hand side)
  3. Analyze results by author (Find out more about this here).


Uncover an author’s impact as a researcher, editor and reviewer

We mentioned earlier that no metric is perfect in measuring the impact of an author’s complete body of work. Each metric has a purpose and the key is knowing what each metric can measure and what it cannot. Rather than limiting your author search to papers and citations, you can see a more complete picture of an author’s contribution to their field on Publons. Publons is a free platform for researchers to track their publications, citations, peer review metrics and journal editing work. You can view a summary of all researchers’ work on their public profile. This includes their engagement in open and transparent peer review.

Publons profiles also list certain accolades that will help you understand a researcher’s influence at a glance. One is the Highly Cited Researcher™ recognition, presented annually by Clarivate to recognize the world’s most influential researchers. This is demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. Furthermore, you’ll also see the global Peer Review Awards listed on various profiles. This award recognizes the quantity and quality of researchers’ peer review efforts in their field over the last 12 months.

Browse researchers on Publons today or learn more about creating your own Publons profile in the video below.


Publons Private Dashboard. This is what you see when you register for a free Publons profile.



Stay connected

Interested in discovering more tips to really understand your research field? You can download our cheat sheet, which brings together top tips for finding relevant journals, papers and authors in your field. You can also read the related blog posts in our Research Smarter series, here.

If you don’t have access to the Web of Science and want to enquire on behalf of your organization, please contact our sales team.