On October 7, 2019, the Nobel Assembly will vote to confer science’s highest honor and announce the first of the 2019 Nobel Prizes. While this annual rite inspires worldwide speculation about possible recipients, the Web of Science Group has, since 2002, brought special insight into identifying researchers likely to receive Nobel recognition.
In selecting these Nobel-class researchers, our analysts focus on data in Web of Science, the powerful research engine connecting 1.7-billion cited references from over 155-million records from the indexed contents of more than 34,000 scientific journals and other source materials. Of particular interest for us are authors of extremely highly cited papers, typically ranking in the top 0.01% by citations. Out of some 47-million papers indexed in Web of Science since 1970, only 4,900 (or .01 percent) have been cited 2,000 or more times. It is among this extremely small group of publications that the names of most past and future Nobel laureates may be found as authors.
“Out of some 47-million papers indexed since 1970, only 4,900
(or .01 percent) have been cited 2,000 or more times. It is among this extremely small group of publications that the names of most past and future Nobel laureates may be found as authors.
In seeking Citation Laureates, our analysts refine their search for instances in which this highly cited work is clearly associated with a significant discovery or advance on a scale that the Nobel committees typically reward. Information on receipt of prestigious awards supplements our quantitative, citation-based analysis – an approach unique to the Web of Science Group in identifying Nobel-worthy scientists – with qualitative considerations arising from past peer-review decisions.
The Hall of Citation Laureates
The class of 2019 joins a group that now numbers more than 300. Of these, 50 have received a call to Stockholm, 29 within two years of being designated Citation Laureates. For the current selectees and those named in previous years, exactly when their call might come, or even if it will arrive in time to conform to Alfred Nobel’s stipulation that the prize shall honor only living recipients, is impossible to say.
In many instances, a Nobel Prize recognizes work completed decades ago, and attempting to forecast precisely which achievement is due for a prize can be a challenge. Therefore, as in every year, this latest batch of Citation Laureates should not be considered literal predictions for the 2019 Nobel Prizes, but rather a selection of researchers with similarly exceptional influence. The 2019 selection of Citation Laureates includes 19 researchers based in eight countries.