Six South Africans make ‘influential scientific minds’ list

Six South Africa-based scientists represent Africa on a list of the world’s currently most influential scientific minds, released on 18 June by the intellectual property and science business of Thomson Reuters.

The six are Nicola Mulder and William Bond from the University of Cape Town; Stellenbosch University’s David Richardson; Guy Midgley from the South African National Biodiversity Institute; and Rachel Jewkes and Lyn Wadley from the University of the Witwatersrand.

The researchers on the list wrote the most ‘highly cited papers’—that is, ranking among the top 1 per cent most cited in their subject field and year—between 2002 and 2012. More than 3,000 scientists made it onto the list.
Another four highly cited researchers list ‘secondary affiliations’ to South African institutions: Matthias Egger (University of Bern, Switzerland, and UCT), Bruce Walker (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, US, and University of KwaZulu-Natal), Yves Van De Peer (Ghent University, Belgium, and University of Pretoria), and Christopher Henshilwood (University of Bergen, Norway, and Wits University).

However, no researchers on the list are associated with other African countries.“The global nature of the study highlights the countries, institutions and researchers on the cutting edge of science. It’s our mission at Thomson Reuters to support these individuals as they advance innovation globally,” said Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP & Science. The South Africa-based researchers excelled in biology, clinical medicine, environmental sciences and social sciences.

“The ‘highly cited’ badge is one result of the research made possible by the centre of excellence programme that has produced a vibrant research hub in South Africa which is enjoying international recognition,” said David Richardson, one of the South Africans on the list.

In its first 10 years, Richardson’s Centre for Invasion Biology has produced over 800 papers in peer-reviewed journals and trained over 200 students. “South Africa is a superb natural laboratory for studying the ecology of invasive species, how they affect humans, and how humans perceive the problems,” he says.

By Jackie Opara for Research Professional Africa 30 June 2014

Related links 

Worlds most influential scientific minds 2014pdf

Thomson Reuters news release –
Highly Cited database –