Eight NREL Scientists Included on List of Highly Cited Researchers

Nov. 25, 2020

A researcher works with hybrid perovskite solar cells in a lab.

Scientist Mengjin Yang is included on the 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Eight researchers affiliated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are on this year’s list of Highly Cited Researchers, with four identified for their influence beyond their own scientific specialty.

NREL had five researchers on the 2019 and 2018 lists.

The researchers from NREL are: Matthew Beard, Keith Emery, Giles Eperon, Joseph Luther, Michael McGehee, Su-Huai Wei, Mengjin Yang, and Kai Zhu. Beard and Eperon also appeared on the 2018 list. Luther has earned a spot on the list for the past two years. Wei, Yang, and Zhu also were on last year’s list.

“It is a great honor to be on this list of about 0.1% of the world’s researchers across multiple fields,” said Zhu, a senior scientist in the Chemistry and Nanoscience Center at NREL.

“With so many influential researchers around the world who have made this list, I am proud that so many from NREL are included,” said Martin Keller, director of NREL. “That their work is being cited as much as it is by other scientists shows the importance of our foundational research.”

The list, compiled annually by Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science Group, this year included the names of 6,389 scientists who the organization noted “have demonstrated exceptional influence—reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers.” The papers were published between 2009 and 2019. Their names of authors and co-authors are culled from publications that rank in the top 1% by citations in the Web of Science citation index.

Beard, Luther, Wei, and Yang were included among those with a cross-field impact. Wei is now with the Beijing Computational Science Research Center. The others from NREL were noted for their impact in a singular scientific field: engineering for Emery, chemistry for Eperon, materials science for McGehee, and chemistry for Zhu.

McGehee is also a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Emery, an emeritus researcher, has been a fixture on the list since 2014 partly because of his highly cited reports on the efficiency of a wide spectrum of solar cell technologies. He credits the entirety of the Photovoltaic Cell and Module Performance Characterization group. “This citation means a lot to the group’s reputation because it is proof that the entire international PV community follows independent efficiency measurements and new techniques developed by the group.”

Web of Science Group, which is based in London, said the largest majority of authors on its Highly Cited Researchers list are from the United States, at 41.5%. The greatest collection of researchers on the list, with 188, came from Harvard University.

“There is no unique or universally agreed concept of what constitutes extraordinary research performance and elite status in the sciences and social sciences. Consequently, no quantitative indicators will produce a list that satisfies all expectations or requirements,” the company noted in explaining its process for choosing the Highly Cited Researchers list. “Moreover, a different basis or formula for selection would generate a different—though likely overlapping—list of names. Thus, the absence of a name on our list cannot be interpreted as inferior performance or stature in comparison to those selected.”

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