World Online Ranking of Best Environmental Scientists – 2023 Report

On April 17, 2023, published its second annual report on the top scientists in the field of environmental science. This year, we release an updated list that aims to contribute to increasing the online visibility of researchers, professors, and academics who actively share their knowledge in this community.

Moreover, by publishing an annual report of the most active scientists in environmental science, we can also make it easier for other researchers, businesses, and organizations to network with environmental scientists so that they can collaborate on their projects. The report provides an opportunity for people to learn about the leading experts in various research areas, countries, universities, and research institutions.

To compile the ranking, our research team evaluated more than 11,000 scientist profiles on OpenAlex and CrossRef, and other bibliometric sources. We used various indicators and metrics, including the proportion of contributions made within the given discipline, as well as the awards and achievements of the scientists. Scholars with a D-index of 30 or more in environmental science were included in the ranking, provided that most of their publications were in this field.


Latest discoveries in environmental science research

Currently, urgent environmental concerns encompass a range of issues such as pollution, global warming, overpopulation, waste management, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, deforestation, depletion of natural resources, and ozone layer depletion. Moreover, there are growing apprehensions about water scarcity, air pollution, and the detrimental effects of toxic chemicals and plastic on marine life and the environment.

As of 2023, the most significant environmental challenges that need immediate attention and action include climate change, deforestation, plastic pollution, and biodiversity loss. Addressing these issues is crucial to minimize their adverse impact on the planet and its inhabitants.

Environmental scientists are working round the clock to find solutions to these pressing issues. For example, NASA scientists developed a new method to measure isoprene, a chemical compound associated with poor air quality. With this new method, scientists could improve databases and find ways to help local communities improve air quality.

Another discovery is about the toxic effects of sunscreen chemicals on water and marine life. Chemicals found in some sunscreens like nano-Titanium dioxide, Oxybenzone, and 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor may wash off and enter waterways, which in turn could cause reproductive problems and physical defects in marine animals.

The Key findings for the 2nd edition of the best environmental science scientists ranking

  • Scientists affiliated with universities in the United States dominate this year's ranking with 468 scholars.
  • The other countries in the top 5 are the United Kingdom (92 scientists), Germany (70), China (62), and Australia (43).
  • The top 5 scientists for 2023 come from the U.S., Spain, Finland, and The Netherlands.
  • In the 2023 report, the National Center for Atmospheric Research retains its top position as the institution with the most number of leading environmental scientists.
  • Thirteen of the top 20 leading institutions (65%) are American universities. Other leading universities come from the U.K., China, Germany, and Switzerland.
  • The top-ranking scientist in environmental science is John H. Seinfeld from the California Institute of Technology, United States, with a D-index of 181.
  • The average D-index for the top 1% of scientists is 156.7, against an average of 82.33 for all scientists included in the ranking.

The full ranking for the 2023 list of the best environmental scientists can be found here:


Countries with the highest number of leading environmental science scientists

Scientists affiliated with universities in the United States dominate our 2023 report. A total of 468 scientists come from the U.S. This number is down from last year's 500 scientists.

The second country with the most leading scientists is The United Kingdom. There are 92 scientists coming from the U.K., twelve more compared with last year.

Keeping its third place is Germany, with 70 scientists this year versus 66 last year.

The next leading countries have maintained their positions, too, such as  China with 62 scientists, Australia (43), Switzerland with 36 scientists, Canada (35), and France (30). Rounding up the top 10 countries in the field are the Netherlands (24) and Spain (23).

Please note that the country associated with a scientist is based on their affiliated research institution, according to MAG, not on their actual nationality.


Institutions with the highest number of leading scientists

In the 2023 report, the National Center for Atmospheric Research is once again the leader, with 25 scientists affiliated with that institution.

The top 2 and 3 positions also remain the same with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Goddard Space Flight Center. These institutions have 20 and 18 scientists, respectively.

American universities and institutions constitute 65% of the top 20 leading institutions, with the other ones representing China (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Switzerland (ETH Zurich), and Germany (Max Planck Society).

Other research institutions in Europe in the top 20 include the Spanish National Research Council, the University of Reading, and the University of Exeter.

Strengthening research in online universities

To continue providing quality education, universities have opened their campuses to online learners. Some of the best universities now offer online programs that lead to the degree that students can complete entirely online.

Against this backdrop, online universities have the potential to greatly strengthen research in the field of environmental science. Aside from the most obvious advantages like flexibility and convenience, online universities can also provide researchers with access to a wider range of research locations, including remote and hard-to-reach areas. This can lead to more comprehensive and diverse data collection, which can enhance research outcomes.

Additionally, online universities can facilitate collaboration across different geographic locations. Researchers from different parts of the world can work together without borders and share information, leading to the development of more comprehensive and innovative research approaches.

Moreover, online universities can provide researchers and students with access to a wide range of resources, including databases, journals, and other online tools. This can help researchers to stay up-to-date with the latest research findings and to access resources that might not be available at their physical location.

D-index ranking–leaders, averages, and distribution

For North America, John H. Seinfeld from the California Institute of Technology, United States, is the top scientist in 2023. dislodging Professor Daniel J. Jacob. Seinfeld's D-index is 181, one more compared with Jacob's.

For Europe, Damià Barceló from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spain, is the leading scientist. He ranks number three in the report with a D-index of 164.

Yong Sik Ok from Korea University, South Korea, leads the top scientists in Asia and ranks 23rd on our list.

For Oceania, Zhiguo Yuan from the University of Queensland, Australia, ranks 1st on our list. Professor Yuan places at number 82 in our report with a D-index of 109.

Professor Paulo Artaxo from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, is once again the leading scientist in South America with a world ranking of 62 and a D-index of 113.

Professor Philip K. Thornton, who works at the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Kenya, is the top scientist in Africa with a world ranking of 390. This is a significant jump from his ranking in 2022, which stood at 440.

The average D-index for the top 1% of scientists is 156.7 against an average of 82.33 for all scientists included in the ranking.

The average number of published articles for the top 1% of scientists in the ranking is 871.2 against an average of 331.61 for all ranking scholars.

The average number of citations for the top 1% of scientists is 99, 241.2 against an average of 29, 757.35 for all ranking scholars.

You can learn more about the methodology used to create this report here.


All research was coordinated by Imed Bouchrika, PhD, a computer scientist with a well-established record of collaboration on a number of international research projects with different partners from the academic community. His role is to make sure all data remains unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date. is the number one research portal for science rankings. Our mission is to make it easier for professors, research fellows, and those studying for a PhD or a master’s degree to progress with their research and to ensure they are always up-to-date with the latest conferences around the world and publications related to their work. is also involved in the publication of an annual ranking of leading scientists in a wide range of scientific disciplines.