Clarivate and the Chinese Academy of Sciences Release Annual Joint Report to Identify 171 Research Fronts

Selecting 110 hot and 61 emerging research specialties in 11 areas of sciences and social sciences

London, U.K., December 8, 2021Clarivate Plc (NYSE: CLVT), a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) today released “Research Fronts 2021” report, to identify the hottest and emerging areas in the world of scientific research. This is the eighth annual collaborative report between the two parties and it was launched at a joint forum today in Beijing.

Research Fronts 2021” identified 171 research fronts, including 110 hot and 61 emerging fronts in 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. Around one third of the Research Fronts identified this year are related to COVID-19. These include six among the top 10 Research Fronts in clinical medicine and three among the top 10 Research Fronts in biological sciences. The research being produced in these areas is instrumental to the fight against the disease and will have enormous impact on the world.

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 2021 report starts with 12,147 Research Fronts in ESI from 2015 to 2020 and aims to discover which Research Fronts were most active or developing most rapidly. Analysts at CAS analyzed the 171 Research Fronts in great depth and interpreted them to highlight 31 key Research Fronts and two key Research Fronts groups.

It has been our pleasure and privilege to collaborate with the Chinese Academy of Sciences on this important Research Fronts report for the past eight consecutive years.  Its content guides us to look to the future of research and demonstrates Clarivate’s vision to improve the way the world creates, protects and advances innovation,” said Steen Lomholt-Thomsen, Chief Revenue Officer of Clarivate. “We are incredibly proud of the increasing influence this report has achieved over the years – not only in China but also in the other parts of the world.”

Gao Hongjun, Vice President of CAS said: “Research Fronts 2021 is an important collaborative achievement, launched globally by Institute of Science and Development of CAS, the National Science Library of CAS and Clarivate. Basic research is the foundation of CAS. We have started strategic research programs including ‘Study and analysis on China’s major scientific and technological breakthrough that may impact the future global landscape’, in a move to better understand the future direction and focus of science and technology. We will leverage our research resources to make better forward-looking analysis on China’s key breakthrough in science and technology that may affect the future of the world, as well as better support China’s strategic plan in scientific and technological innovation.”

In conjunction with the Research Fronts 2021 report, Clarivate and CAS also published “2021 Research Fronts: Active Fields, Leading Countries”, which examines and compares national performance across the 171 Research Fronts. It reveals that the US remains the leading nation for research in 11 areas of sciences and social sciences, followed by China. The gap between the US and China has been reduced. Other top 10 countries in terms of performance in these  Research Fronts are UK, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, Canada, Spain and the Netherlands.


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

Hot Research Fronts Field of Science
Plant pan-genome research Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Research on the base editors of animals and plants Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Trend, extinctions, and the drivers of insect declines Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Distribution, exposure, toxicology, and control of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Assessment of global fire emissions using multiple satellite data sets Geosciences
Development and evaluation of multiple global precipitation datasets Geosciences
Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients Clinical Medicine
Clinical findings and perinatal outcomes among pregnant women with COVID-19 Clinical Medicine
Identification of pathogens of COVID-19, complete genome sequence analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and recognition of ACE2 receptor Biological Sciences
Structure, function and antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein Biological Sciences
Non-covalent interactions (halogen, chalcogen, etc.) Chemistry and Materials Sciences
Chemodynamic therapy Chemistry and Materials Sciences
High-temperature superconductivity in hydrogen-rich compounds under high pressure Physics
Antiferromagnetic spintronics Physics
Possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter Astronomy and Astrophysics
Scalar-tensor theories and implications from gravitational-wave detections Astronomy and Astrophysics
Methods of solving high-dimensional nonlinear partial differential equations Mathematics
Complex network analysis of nonlinear time series Mathematics
Deep neural networks for video action recognition Information Science
UVA-based wireless communication technology Information Science
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences
Application of robots in tourism, marketing, and services industries, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences


The 11 noteworthy topics among the 61 emerging Research Fronts are:

Emerging Research Fronts (Group) Field of Science
The alleviating effect of ACC deaminase producing PGPR on crop drought stress Agricultural, Plant and Animal Sciences
Impact of nitrogen dioxide levels on COVID-19 mortality Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Insight’s seismic experiment on Mars Geosciences
Organ damages and complications caused by new coronavirus infection (Emerging Research Front Group) Clinical Medicine
SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research and development (Emerging Research Front Group) Clinical Medicine
Structural elucidation and inhibitor discovery of SARS-CoV-2 major protease Mpro Biological Sciences
Rapid detection of COVID-19 causative virus using chemical sensor Chemistry and Materials Sciences
Superconductivity of infinite layer nickelates Physics
Gravitational-wave detections from colliding black holes Astronomy and Astrophysics
Research on deep neural networks for detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 based on medical images Information Science
Psychometric assessment of COVID-19 anxiety Economics, Psychology and other Social Sciences


#  #  #


 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


Clarivate media contact

Jack Wan, External Communications Director


Subscribe to our news

Let's stay in touch. Subscribe to our latest announcements.