How can I find the most prominent researchers on a given subject in the life sciences?
July 15, 2010 9:54 PM   Subscribe

How can I find the most prominent researchers on a given subject in the life sciences?

I'm talking about something like Microsoft Academic Search -- you enter a search term, and it returns a list of authors who have published the top research in that field. However, a couple of test queries for life sciences subjects yielded mediocre results.

Google Scholar used to give me good results, but the top authors feature is gone now.

I'm looking for a tool that can produce the top-ranked authors for queries like "beta-2 adrenergic agonists", or "visceral afferents".
posted by lunchbox to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
After going through the references from various journal articles on a given topic, you'll get an idea of who the prominent researchers are by how often they're cited.

Start with PubMed, look for summary papers on the subject, then pore through references.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on July 15, 2010

Echoing Blazecock Pileon, I'd hit up Nature Reviews and Annual Reviews and by looking at what papers are cited in the review articles will give you a broad sense of what's significant in the particular subject you're interested in.
posted by scalespace at 10:24 PM on July 15, 2010

I use and Web of Science (need login but most colleges have them). They will also give you the number of times and article has been cited which is helpful.
posted by fshgrl at 11:06 PM on July 15, 2010

Seconding web of science if you have access. Sort the results by "times cited".
posted by furisto at 11:12 PM on July 15, 2010

Also, once you've narrowed your search down, you can always ask some of the scientists who they consider to be at the top in their field.
posted by achmorrison at 4:44 AM on July 16, 2010

Best answer: GoPubMed using the "who" feature.
posted by tel3path at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Collexis is tool that's starting to do this, but it's currently limited to participating universities.

I've only been playing with it a little bit this week, and it seems like it has promise, but has more UI development work to be done in addition to the need for a more comprehensive scope.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:49 AM on July 16, 2010

An easier way would be to look at the academic conferences for that subject for a few years and see who the keynote speakers are. An even lazier way would be to find someone who does research in that area and just ask them who the top guns are. Be aware though that most researchers really dislike blue sky contacts who don't do some minimal prep - get your lingo right, no typos and mention their work and who they cite to show that you are doing some of the work yourself.
posted by srboisvert at 3:14 PM on July 16, 2010

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