Clarivate, a company that identifies the world’s most influential scientists, has published its 2022 list that includes five researchers related to Estonia, three of whom work at the University of Tartu, one at Tallinn University of Technology and one at the Estonian University of Life Sciences.
Clarivate identifies the researchers who have shown notable influence in their field and have published multiple papers that rank in the top one per cent by citations. The list is based on data from one of the world’s largest scientific databases, the Web of Science – its analytics tool aggregates one per cent of the world’s most cited publications.
A total of five representatives of Estonian research institutions made it to the 2022 list of 6,938 influential researchers from across the world: Elin Org, an associate professor of genomics and microbiomics; Mohammad Bahram, an associate professor in molecular ecology; Leho Tedersoo, a professor in mycorrhizal studies – all three at the University of Tartu; Ülo Niinemets, a professor of plant physiology at the Estonian University of Life Sciences; and Linda Hollebeek, an adjunct professor in marketing at Tallinn University of Technology.
Leho Tedersoo and Mohammad Bahram work together on soil microbiology and biodiversity, developing new molecular characterisation methods, the University of Tartu said in a press release. Bahram’s research focuses on bacteria and archaea, their genomes and functionality. Tedersoo’s focus is more on fungi and the aspects of global biogeography.
In their work, they study the impact of climate change, land use change and natural processes on soil organisms. They identify how soil resources can be used sustainably in climate change and propose environmentally sound solutions for land use change and biodiversity enhancement.
Tedersoo and Bahram have also published scientific articles on the global distribution and function of soil microbes in Nature and Science journal. Both researchers have been included in Clarivate’s list in previous years.
Elin Org, a new addition to the list this year, studies the relationship between the gut microbiome and health. Specifically, she is trying to find out whether the microbiome can be used as a marker for disease prevention or early detection, and what its links with different disease states and drug action might be.
Professor Ülo Niinemets is one of the youngest academicians in Estonia. His international research group at the Estonian University of Life Sciences is looking for answers to important questions – how does plant stress influence climate change and how does climate change affect plants.
Linda Hollebeek holds a PhD in marketing from the University of Auckland. She has been an associate professor at TalTech for four years. Her research focuses on customer and consumer engagement with digital technologies, including social media, online communities, artificial intelligence (service robots), innovation and value creation. Both Niinemets and Hollebeek were also in Clarivate list last year.
Indicator of the global impact
“The citation rate of a scientific article is an important indicator of the global impact of a researcher’s work. The more other researchers have cited an article, the broader the impact of the research on the advancement of new knowledge,” Kalmer Lauk, an analyst of research and development at the University of Tartu, said in a statement.
There were two Estonian scientists less in the 2022 Clarivate list than a year before – and indeed, five less than in 2020. According to Lauk, the reasons for this are “statistical” and “difficult to assess”.
“It could be that a successful year for researchers in terms of citations has been left out of the analysis and new publications have not been able to collect enough citations, or that the field-based thresholds have risen for some reason, and it has become more difficult to cross them. Fluctuations in such reviews and indicators are quite common,” Lauk noted. “In addition, there is always the possibility that our researchers’ publications simply no longer reach such a high level of impact.”
From Estonia’s neighbouring countries, the list includes 70 researchers from Sweden, 18 from Finland and three from Russia.
Clarivate, once a division of Thomson Reuters, is a Philadelphia, the US, and London, the UK-based public analytics company.