Clarivate and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Release Annual Joint Report to Identify 100+ Research Fronts

Selecting 110 hot and 38 emerging research specialties in 11 broad areas of sciences and social sciences

London, U.K. and Beijing, China, November 13, 2020 – Clarivate Plc (NYSE:CCC), a global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) today released their joint report “Research Fronts 2020” to identify the hottest and emerging areas in scientific research. The seventh annual collaborative report between Clarivate and CAS was launched today at a joint forum held at the CAS in Beijing.

The 2020 report identified a total of 148 Research Fronts, including 110 hot and 38 emerging specialties spanning 11 broad research areas in sciences and social sciences. Research Fronts are formed when clusters of highly cited papers are frequently cited together, reflecting a specific commonality in the research – sometimes experimental data, a method, a concept or a hypothesis. Several Research Fronts identified in recent years reflected the award-winning research of Nobel prize winners. For instance, in the area of Physics, recent reports recognized Research Fronts related to black holes which was recognized by the Nobel committee in 2020. Genome editing which was recognized by the Nobel committee for the 2020 Chemistry prize was also identified as a Research Front for several years.

Working in collaboration with the Institute of Science and Development and the National Science Library, both affiliated with CAS, bibliometric experts from Clarivate utilized the Essential Science Indicators (ESI)™ database which is built on the foundation of the Web of Science™ index to conduct co-citation analysis. The 2020 report starts with 11,626 Research Fronts in ESI from 2014 to 2019 and aims to discover which Research Fronts were most active or developing most rapidly. Analysts at CAS analyzed the 148 Research Fronts in great depth and interpreted them to highlight 31 key Research Fronts of particular interest.

“I am so proud to see the release of Research Fronts 2020, our seventh annual collaborative report with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This is an important report because its content guides us to the hottest and emerging specialty areas in scientific research. The fruits of this collaboration will enable the global research community to better turn scientific discoveries into innovation that can change the world,” said Jerre Stead, Executive Chairman and CEO of Clarivate. “Our vision at Clarivate is to improve the way the world creates, protects and advances innovation. Strategic collaborations with important global research organizations such as CAS are central to how we will help to advance global scientific research and drive sustainable development.”

Gao Hongjun, Vice President of CAS said: “One important mission of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is to support China in making decisions and learning global trends in science and technology development. We have started a series of strategic research programs including ‘Study and analysis on China’s major scientific and technological breakthrough that may impact the future global landscape’. As China’s foremost think tank, we will fully leverage our resources both internally and externally to better forecast development trends in science and technology and provide a research foundation for China to better support its blueprint for science and technology innovation.”

In conjunction with the Research Fronts 2020 report, Clarivate and CAS also published an analytical report entitled, “2020 Research Fronts: Active Fields, Leading Countries” which examines and compares national performance across the 148 Research Fronts. The report assessed the research activity of the world’s major countries and observed how that activity is demonstrated in these Research Fronts in the face of global competition in innovation and technological advancement. It reveals that the US remains the leading nation for research in 11 areas of sciences and social sciences, followed by China in second place. UK, Germany and France rank the third, fourth and fifth.


The 22 noteworthy topics among the 110 hottest Research Fronts are:


Hot Research Fronts Field of Science
Effects of kinetics of light-induced stomatal responses on photosynthesis and water-use efficiency Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Effects of biochar and metal oxide nanoparticles on crop growth cadmium uptake in crops Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Evaluation, effects and management of invasive alien species on a global scale Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Anammox technology and the application in wastewater treatment Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Research progress on gas hydrate accumulation and mining technology Geosciences
Analysis of the performance of the Sentinel and Landsat reflectance products Geosciences
Deep learning in ophthalmology Clinical Medicine
Tau PET in Alzheimer’s disease Clinical Medicine
Relationship between astrocytes and neurodegenerative diseases and brain aging Biological Sciences
Target degradation of protein by small molecular PROTACs Biological Sciences
Pure organic room-temperature phosphorescent materials Chemistry and Materials Sciences
N-heterocyclic carbene catalysis Chemistry and Materials Sciences
Twisted bilayer graphene Physics
Direct detection of dark matter Physics
Gaia building the most precise 3D map of the Milky Way Astronomy and Astrophysics
Observational and theoretical research on fast radio bursts Astronomy and Astrophysics
Optimal estimation method of sample mean Mathematics
Bayesian multilevel modeling and its application in computing software packages Mathematics
Research on wireless mobile edge computing Information Science
AlphaGo Zero’s reinforcement learning algorithm Information Science
Business model innovation for circular economy and sustainability Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences
Research on climate change and impact based on shared social economic path Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences


The nine noteworthy topics among the 38 emerging Research Fronts are:


Hot Research Fronts Field of Science
Research on biological regulation technology and mechanism of degradable waste resource utilization Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Impact of blended biodiesel and additive on performance and emission of biodiesel fueled diesel engine Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Study on Indonesian volcanic eruption prediction model Geosciences
Anti-PD-1/PD-L1 combined therapy for advanced renal-cell carcinoma first-line therapy Clinical Medicine
Meta-analysis of genome-wide association of depression Biological Sciences
Transition metal phosphides (TMPs) electrocatalysts for the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction Chemistry and Materials Sciences
Moiré superlattices in two-dimensional van der Waals heterostructures Physics
Cosmological implications of the string theory swampland Astronomy and Astrophysics
The application of artificial intelligence to blockchain smart contracts in supply chain management and smart cities Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences


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About Clarivate

Clarivate™ is a global leader in providing solutions to accelerate the lifecycle of innovation. Our bold mission is to help customers solve some of the world’s most complex problems by providing actionable information and insights that reduce the time from new ideas to life-changing inventions in the areas of science and intellectual property. We help customers discover, protect and commercialize their inventions using our trusted subscription and technology-based solutions coupled with deep domain expertise. For more information, please visit



About the Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the linchpin of China’s drive to explore and harness high technology and the natural sciences for the benefit of China and the world. Comprising a comprehensive research and development network, a merit-based learned society and a system of higher education, CAS brings together scientists and engineers from China and around the world to address both theoretical and applied problems using world-class scientific and management approaches. Since its founding, CAS has fulfilled multiple roles — as a national team and a locomotive driving national technological innovation, a pioneer in supporting nationwide S&T development, a think tank delivering S&T advice, and a community for training young S&T talent. For more information, please visit


Media Contact

Jack Wan, Director of External Communications, Asia Pacific



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