Twenty-six researchers from 17 Bangladeshi institutions were among the top two percent of the most cited researchers throughout their careers, found a research on metascience by Stanford University.
Metascience is the “study of studies” using scientific methods.
Stanford University professor John Ioannidis worked alongside US-based Kevin W Boyack and the Netherlands-based Jeroen Baas to release the exhaustive list of 1,59,683 scientists of various disciplines.
The database, which analyses the career-long impacts by researchers, was published publicly in mid-October in the journal PLoS Biology.
The first comprehensive data of its kind, it was first published in August last year and was released this year with updates.
Some of the 17 Bangladeshi institutions hosting these top researchers include International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), Jahangirnagar University, Gono Bishwabidyalay, University of Dhaka, BRAC University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Independent University Bangladesh, Rajshahi University, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, BRAC and North South University.
Of these institutions, ICDDR,B and DU had the most researchers on the list — four and three respectively.
Dr John D Clemens, former executive director of ICDDR,B, holds the position of most citations, with 20,130 of them between 1996-2019, while eminent scientist Dr Firdausi Qadri came in second with 14,423 citations. Dr Firdausi Qadri, head of the Mucosal Immunology and Vaccinology unit at ICDDR,B, had won the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award (Asia-Pacific region) this year. Her research focuses on infectious diseases affecting children in developing countries.
However, authors opined that just looking at the number of citations does not truly measure the impact of the researcher, since some fields are more vibrant with research than others.
For example, there is less research done in field of library science, they said.
Their database, they argue, “allows the inclusion of more comprehensive samples of top-cited scientists for fields that have low citation densities and therefore would be less likely to be found in the top 100,000 when all scientific fields are examined together.”
To this end, they assigned scientists ranks based on their impacts within the subfields of their disciplines.
Judging by rank, Dr AA Mamun, professor of the Physics department at Jahangirnagar University tops the list of Bangladesh-based researchers — ranked at 14,338.
To compare, the rank number 1 in the database is held by Swiss scientist Michael Grätzel, pioneer in photonics from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne — potentially making him the most impactful scientist in the world according to the database. The second position is held by American physician Walter Willett from Harvard University.
Meanwhile the research also evaluated the impact made by researchers in a single year. Looking at just 2019, 56 researchers from 32 Bangladeshi institutions made it to the top two percent most cited authors in their fields.
In addition to those mentioned above, other institutions that topped the 2019 list include American International University Bangladesh, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Daffodil International University, Dhaka Shishu Hospital, East West University, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Jashore University of Science and Technology, Khulna University, Khulna University Environmental Science Discipline, Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University, Patuakhali Science and Technology University, Pulp and Paper Research Division, Rajshahi University, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Southeast University Dhaka, University of Chittagong and Uttara University.
It is to note that although three BUET researchers were among the top two percent in 2019, none were on the list of those with the most career-wide impact.
This list however does not classify by nationality, but rather the country where the researcher is located, which means that it was not possible for this newspaper to estimate just how many eminent Bangladeshi citizens located outside of Bangladesh or in foreign universities across the world are on the list of the top two percent.