UC San Diego Ranks 7th
in Nation for Scientific ‘Impact’

November 15, 2006

By Kim McDonald

Research conducted at the University of California, San Diego is among the most highly cited in the world and has placed UCSD 7 th among U.S. universities for scientific impact, according to a national survey of published research.

The survey, conducted by Thomson Scientific, a Philadelphia publisher of scholarly research databases, highlights those universities whose published papers from 2001 to 2005 have, on average, been cited by other scientists far more frequently than comparable papers from other institutions. Citations are generally regarded as a measure of the strength and significance of research papers. Typically, the more influential the research results are to a particular scientific discipline, the more times that paper is cited by other authors in their own research papers.

Of the 21 main fields of science included in this two-part survey, UCSD ranked among the top ten in the average number of citations in six fields: clinical medicine; plant and animal sciences; immunology; molecular biology and genetics; pharmacology; and chemistry. UCSD ranked 2 nd in pharmacology, 4 th in molecular biology and genetics, 5 th in clinical medicine, 6 th in plant and animal sciences, 6 th in chemistry and 9 th in immunology.

“UCSD has appeared in the page-one table of highest-impact U.S. universities for three of the four times in which we have published these ‘Top Ten’ surveys, once every four years, since 1994,” said Christopher King, editor of Science Watch, a publication produced by Thomson Scientific that tracks trends and performance in basic research. “Given that citations represent judgments that scientists themselves make in determining the most useful, relevant and significant work in their given fields, this certainly speaks well of UCSD's research over the years.”

“This ranking, which places UCSD among the nation's top universities in terms of scientific impact, is all the more remarkable in light of the relative youth of our university,” said Arthur Ellis, Vice Chancellor for Research at UCSD. “It is a pleasure to be in such great company, but our goal is to move up, and we have the talent and motivation to do that.”

Harvard University topped Science Watch’s rankings of “highest impact U.S. universities,” followed in order by Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, MIT and Yale. In 7 th place, UCSD outranked Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Caltech, UC San Francisco and Columbia University.

Last year, UCSD was named the “hottest” institution in the nation for students to study science by Newsweek and the 2006 Kaplan/Newsweek College Guide. U.S. News and World Report ranks UCSD as 8 th best public university in the nation, while Washington Monthly’ s 2006 College Guide ranked UCSD as the 6 th best university in the nation, based on the positive impact the university has had on the country.

The November/December issue of Science Watch, containing the first part of the rankings, is available here. The second part of the survey, containing UCSD’s top ten ranking in chemistry, will be published in the January/February issue. Previous issues of Science Watch, with rankings of the top universities in each field, are available at www.sciencewatch.com.


Media Contact: Kim McDonald, (858) 534-7572

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