On May 5, 2022, Research.com released the 1st edition of the annual ranking for top scientists in the area of environmental science. This list of leading scholars is designed to offer the academic community more visibility and exposure to the influential research contributions made by those at the forefront of environmental science.
What is more, we hope it will inspire researchers, decision-makers, and entrepreneurs around the world to find out where leading experts are heading. It is a great opportunity for all of us to learn who are the leading experts in different research areas, in different countries, as well as within different universities and research institutions.
For the 2022 edition of the ranking, more than 9,100 scientist profiles on Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Graph have been examined with several indicators and metrics reviewed in order to consider each scientist’s inclusion in the ranking.
The h-index threshold for approving a scholar to be considered was set to 30 if most of their publications were in the field of environmental science. The inclusion criteria for scholars to be considered into the ranking of top scientists are based on the discipline h-index, the proportion of contributions made within the given discipline in addition to the awards and achievements of the scientists.
The full ranking for the 2022 list of top environmental scientists can be found here:
Scientists from the United States dominate the list with 498 scholars included in 2022 which represents 49.8% of the whole ranking. However, only 4 out of 10 scientists in the top 1% are from the United States.
The United Kingdom ranks second with 80 scientists.
The third spot was taken by Germany, which currently has 66 ranking scientists.
The other leading countries are China with 60 scientists, Australia with 36 scientists, Switzerland with 35 scientists, Canada with 35 scientists, and France with 29 scholars.
Please note that the country associated with a scientist is based on their affiliated research institution according to MAG, not on their actual nationality.
In the 2022 edition of our ranking, the American National Center for Atmospheric Research is the leader, with 28 scientists affiliated with that institution included in the ranking. Ranking second is the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with 27 scientists, and the third place is occupied by the Goddard Space Flight Center with 21 scholars.
American universities and institutions constitute 80% of the top 10 leading institutions with the other ones representing China (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and Germany (Max Planck Society).
Only 4 out of 10 institutions affiliated with the top 1% of leading scientists are based in the USA though. The other top spots are occupied by scientists from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spain
(3rd spot), The University of Helsinki, Finland (4th spot), University of East Anglia, United Kingdom (5th spot), Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany (6th and 8th spot), and the University of Sussex, United Kingdom (10th spot).
Environmental science is as interdisciplinary as they come. It draws from different disciplines, ranging from physics to biology and meteorology to oceanography. This is why many graduates from various disciplines have flocked to the field. This is because it is not only vibrant in terms of research but also for exciting applications, putting scientific knowledge from component fields to bear on each other. Moreover, as the field is relatively new compared to others, career opportunities are growing. In fact, employment is growing at a good pace at 5%, which is as fast as any other occupation. Also, the annual median pay for environmental scientists and specialists, at $75,530, is higher than the U.S. annual median salary of $54,132 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023). This makes it a viable career.
The field’s biggest component is geography, making geography degree holders prime candidates for work in the environmental sciences. The pay, too, can be quite lucrative, with geographers earning an average wage of $99,217 annually (DataUSA, 2023). And thanks to the advent of online education, entry into geography and environmental science is more accessible today. As a result, this also opens doors for enriching research endeavors in the field.
Those interested in environmental careers can now start by going the online education route. There are many quality online degree programs available that can equip them with the right knowledge, skills, and outlook to contribute to environmental research. There are many specializations available and there is much work to be done, especially in climate change investigations and mitigation efforts around the world. As online education expands and its acceptance grows, participation in both basic and applied research is also expected to ramp up, courtesy of future graduates.
For North America, Professor Daniel J. Jacob from Harvard University is on top of the list with a world ranking of no. 1 as well. His h-index is 174.
For Europe, Professor Damià Barceló from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, Spain is ranked first in the region, with an H-index of 161. He's also listed as no. 3 in the world ranking.
Professor Peng Gong from the University of Hong Kong, China leads the top list in Asia with a world ranking of 44 as well.
For Oceania, Professor Ravi Naidu from the University of Newcastle Australia ranks 1st on our list of leading scientists in that region. He's also listed as no. 59 in the world ranking.
Professor Paulo Artaxo from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil is the highest-ranking scientist from South America with a world ranking of 62.
Professor Philip K. Thornton who is affiliated with the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Kenya is the first in Africa with a world ranking of 440.
The average H-index for the top 1% of scientists is 151 against an average of 78 for all 1000 scientists included in the ranking.
The scholar with the lowest index value who made it to the ranking in 2022 has an H-index of 62.
The average number of published articles for the top 1% of scientists in the ranking is 680 against an average of 237 for all 1000 scholars.
The average number of citations for the top 1% of scientists is 91,754 against an average of 26,870 for all 1000 scholars. The highest cited scientist is John H. Seinfeld from the California Institute of Technology with 121,964 citations.
You can learn more about the methodology used to create the ranking 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 was to make sure all data remained unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date.
Research.com 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. Research.com is also involved in the publication of an annual ranking of leading scientists in a wide range of scientific disciplines.