UA recognized for contributing to environmental science articles
The UA is among the top-ranked environmental science universities in the world.
The UA is the highest-ranked American university and fourth-ranked institution in the world in terms of how frequently its environmental science articles are cited, and thus how much reach it has in the scientific community, according to the journal Science of the Total Environment. The UA was ranked behind the U.S. Geological Survey, Brunel University of the United Kingdom and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Moonis Ali Khan of King Saud University in Saudi Arabia published a study titled “Top-cited articles in environmental sciences: Merits and demerits of citation analysis” in the journal that looked for the most-cited articles published in environmental science journals.
The number of times an article has been cited is an indication of its recognition and impact in a certain area of research, according to Khan’s study. Through citation analysis, Khan measured the impact articles had on a specific scientific community and then quantified the data to rank the most productive institutions.
“It’s really positive and I am confident that, even though that is just one small measure, that we really are one of the top environmental research universities in the country,” said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA Institute of the Environment.
The study drew its conclusions by first finding articles that had 500 or more total citations on the Web of Science database, then analyzing them using five different indicators: total number of top-cited articles, independent authors, collaborative authors, first author and corresponding authors, according to Khan’s study.
The UA had four of the top-cited articles — first-ranked U.S. Geological Survey had six — and was ranked in the top five for having the most single institution, inter-institutionally collaborative, first author and corresponding articles.
“Being highly ranked in any discipline certainly helps,” said Ian Pepper, director of the UA Environmental Research Laboratory. “It will help enrollment. When you are nationally ranked, students from around the country notice those rankings. So all things being equal, it will make more students come to the University of Arizona.”
With research facilities such as Biosphere 2 and the Environmental Research Laboratory, the UA Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department supplies many tools for both researchers and students.
“It’s just kind of a cool honor for us as students who are in the program to be happy about and to be proud to be a part of this program,” said Bradley Schmitz, a soil, water, and environmental science graduate student.