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Social Sciences, general The Most-Cited Institutions in Social Sciences, 1998-2008
An institutional profile from Essential Science IndicatorsSM

This month, presents a listing of the top 20 institutions which, as of the first bimonthly update of Essential Science Indicators (January 1, 1998-February 29, 2008) attracted the highest total citations to their papers published in Thomson Reuters-indexed Social Sciences journals. These institutions are the top 20 out of a pool of 563 institutions comprising the top 1% ranked by total citation count in this field.

The Social Sciences field includes journals that cover the following specific areas of study:

  • communication
  • environmental studies
  • library and information sciences
  • political science
  • public health and administration
  • rehabilitation
  • social work and social policy
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • law
  • education

Rather unusually, the top 20 institutions in this field are all based in the US, and are all universities.

Leading the way is Harvard University, with 4,913 papers cited a total of 43,540 times. Harvard's most-cited papers in this field cover such diverse topics as patient compliance, college drinking habits, quality-of-life surveys and study designs, and behavioral approaches to the study of law and economics. Among the Harvard researchers who have spoken to us about their work are Gary King, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, and Robert Sampson.

The University of Michigan ranks at #2, with 3,878 papers cited a total of 31, 823 times. Topics in this institution's highly cited papers include dynamics in urban neighborhoods, the long-term effects of childhood poverty, telephone and web survey designs, and youth tobacco control.

Ranking at #3 is the University of California, Los Angeles, with 3,707 papers cited a total of 30,517 times. The effects of lifestyle on medical problems and costs, the quality of heath care in the US, menopausal symptoms across ethnic groups, and topics pertinent to the care of the elderly are among UCLA's most-cited papers.

Coming in at #4 is the University of North Carolina, with 4,134 papers cited a total of 23,181 times. Topics garnering high citations include job quality surveys, non-standard employment relations, children's education issues, health care questionnaires, the role of religion in American life, and the views of African Americans on research participation as influenced by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

The University of Washington joins the list at #5, with 3,250 papers cited a total of 21,217 times. Community issues at the forefront of the University of Washington's highly cited papers include alcohol intervention for fraternities, web-searching behaviors of high school students, the influence of mass media on community political involvement, adolescent drug abuse, community-based partnerships for elder care, and studies on cohabitation and marriage.

The #6 slot belongs to the University of Wisconsin, with 3,825 papers cited a total of 20,845 times. Education is a topic of great concern in this institution's highly cited papers, including language development in children, motivating the academically unmotivated, effective professional development for teachers, and the statistical practices of education researchers. Other topics include fear tactics in public health campaigns, the impact of socioeconomic status on adult health and employment, and web customer satisfaction.

Johns Hopkins University ranks at #7, with 2,498 papers cited a total of 18,833 times. Fourteen of the top 20 papers for Johns Hopkins relate to public health matters, including the role of race in the health care experience, the prevalence of untreated mental illness, functional decline in the elderly, patient-physician relationships, and the automation of many aspects of the health care process, such as patient reports and pill counting.

The University of Illinois ranks at #8, with 3,840 papers cited a total of 18,823 times. Urban sprawl, neoliberalism, studying family processes, the role of money in well-being, alcohol and sexual assault in college women, internet searching habits, and methods for teaching children to read are among the highly cited topics for this university. In addition, there are also two anthropological studies in the 20 most-cited papers: one on human population and climate in the late Pleistocene compared with modern humans, and another on food production in the later Stone Age.

Coming in at #9 is Columbia University, with 3,122 papers cited a total of 18,805 times. Highly cited papers for this institution cover topics such as socratic deliberation, social memory studies, stigma, revenue management, global tactics in corporate governance, and social constructivision.

Rounding out the top 10 is Yale University, with 2,349 papers cited a total of 17,931 times. Researcher Bruce Russett ranked #1 in the November 2006 Special Topic on Armed Conflict and spoke with us about his work; two of his papers appear in the top 20 papers in Sociology for Yale. Other topics on this list include sexual harassment, voter turnout studies, human rights treaties, antidiscrimination legislation, and drugs and pain management in elder care.

The 10 remaining institutions on this list include three more from California (Stanford University at #11, the University of California, Berkeley, at #13, and the University of California, San Francisco at #20), one more from Maryland (the University of Maryland at #16) and two from Pennsylvania (the University of Pennsylvania at #12 and the Pennsylvania State University at #18).

Scientists in these institutions who have spoken with us about their work include Stanford's James Fearon, who spoke with us about his paper, "Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war," (Fearon JD and Laitin DD, Amer. Polit. Sci. Rev. 97:75-90, April 2003), Berkeley's Tim White, who is a Highly Cited Researcher and in December of 2007 was named a New Entrant to Essential Science Indicators, Penn State's Amanda Spink, who spoke with us about her work on internet search habits, and UCSF's Ruth Malone, who spoke with us about her research on tobacco industry documentation.

The top 20 institutions in Social Sciences are listed in full in the table below:

Top 20 Institutions in Social Sciences, general
(Ranked by Citations)
Rank       Institution Papers Citations Citations
Per Paper
1 HARVARD UNIV 4,913 43,540 8.86
2 UNIV MICHIGAN 3,878 31,823 8.21
3 UNIV CALIF LOS ANGELES 3,707 30,517 8.23
4 UNIV N CAROLINA 4,134 23,181 5.61
5 UNIV WASHINGTON 3,250 21,217 6.53
6 UNIV WISCONSIN 3,825 20,845 5.45
7 JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV 2,498 18,833 7.54
8 UNIV ILLINOIS 3,840 18,823 4.9
9 COLUMBIA UNIV 3,122 18,805 6.02
10 YALE UNIV 2,349 17,931 7.63
11 STANFORD UNIV 2,241 17,164 7.66
12 UNIV PENN 2,761 16,961 6.14
13 UNIV CALIF BERKELEY 2,699 16,929 6.27
14 UNIV MINNESOTA 2,854 16,656 5.84
15 UNIV CHICAGO 2,175 16,482 7.58
16 UNIV MARYLAND 2,627 15,772 6
17 INDIANA UNIV 2,636 15,515 5.89
18 PENN STATE UNIV 2,603 15,513 5.96
19 OHIO STATE UNIV 2,419 15,269 6.31
20 UNIV CALIF SAN FRANCISCO 1,637 15,183 9.27

Source: Essential Science Indicators , January 1, 1998-February 29, 2008.


Institutional Interviews : 2008 : 2008 June - Most-Cited Institutions in Social Sciences, general - 1998-Feb 29, 2008