In selecting Citation LaureatesTM, our analysts focus on data in the Web of ScienceTM, an online resource reflecting 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 (those cited more than 1,000 times in the Web of Science Core CollectionTM ).

Papers cited more than 1,000 times are rarities.

The table below shows the citation distribution of articles and proceedings papers indexed in the Web of Science from 1970 to 2020.

Citations Number in range Cumulative count
100,000 – 331,679* 2 2
50,000 – 99,999 13 15
10,000 – 49,999 261 276
5,000 – 9,999 716 992
3,000 – 4,999 1,613 2,605
2,000 – 2,999 3,078 5,683
1,000 – 1,999 16,029 21,712
500 – 999 62,596 84,308
0 – 499 50,637,099 50,721,407

Out of some
50 million

papers since 1970, only 21,700 (0.04
percent) have been cited at least 1,000
times and only 5,700 (0.01 percent) have
been cited at least 2,000 times.

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. Another pointer is provided by “predictor” prizes that often precede Nobel recognition – for example, the Lasker Awards in biomedicine.

Information on receipt of prestigious awards supplements our quantitative, citation-based analysis – an approach unique to Clarivate in identifying Nobel-worthy scientists – with qualitative considerations arising from past peer-review decisions.

Candidates who meet these criteria are officially designated Citation Laureates in identifying considerations arising from past peer-review decisions.

Citation Laureates should not be considered literal predictions for the Nobel Prizes in a specific year. We identify researchers of Nobel class, who are, in the words of sociologist Harriet Zuckerman, “peers of the prize-winners in every sense except that of having the award.”  While not all can possibly become Nobel Laureates, their research achievements, we believe, ought to be highlighted and celebrated.

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