Ladies and gentlemen, hello.

Attracted by one research topic, I am facing a challenge of finding the most relevant sources, more precisely, of identifying the reputed and most qualified authors.

My question is not about a general sources search. Not about asking myself a question, thinking up proper key words and looking them up in academic data bases. Once I set myself a goal, including the one of searching for literature, I may go as far as it is physically possible. But apart from spending much time, my main concern is that in the end I will most certainly miss out on all or many experts in my subject.

Thus, I am looking to understand is there a way for to know which are the most important researchers who already wrote on a certain quite narrow subject? Maybe someone can recommend sites specialised in such kind of search?

Obviously, I already looked this question up on internet search engines but they do not return any meaningful results. Furthermore, I also saw this post which is too narrow and does not provide a general solution. Finally, asking senior researchers is not an option either because I am not affiliated to any institution.

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    Read the most important papers in your field and look at the author lists. If someone's writing a paper on a topic then that person is (arguably by definition) an expert on it. Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 21:37
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    Look at the top conferences in your field. Who are the keynote speakers there? What are their most cited papers? Which influential papers do those cite? Branch out from there to discover more researchers. Caveat: you can never be sure to have found all important researchers, so stop worrying about missing out.
    – user116675
    Commented Dec 12, 2020 at 0:26
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    Does this answer your question? How do I find research groups that do work in field X?
    – cag51
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 0:46
  • @cag51 Not exactly, but it is still informative. Thank you. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 16:25
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    @cag51 In a hindsight, and having gone tried the advise from the link, I conclude that: 1. Your comment is the closest to what I expected as an answer 2. My question is a duplicate from the one you referred to Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


What you are looking for might better be identified using a bibliometric search rather than a typical literature review. Bibliometrics search and analyze metadata related to scholarly publications more than the actual contents of the studies. In your case, the metadata that you are interested in is identifying the leading authors in certain topics of interest.

A colleague of mine published an article that shows how to identify the most relevant literature using free bibliometric tools such as VOSviewer. That is, by beginning with a topic search on a citation database (e.g. Scopus or Web of Science), you can identify the most relevant body of literature, authors, schools of thought, etc. based on cocitations and other bibliometrics:

Walsh, I., & Renaud, A. (2017). Reviewing the literature in the IS field: Two bibliometric techniques to guide readings and help the interpretation of the literature. Systèmes d’Information et Management. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316560668_Reviewing_the_literature_in_the_IS_field_Two_bibliometric_techniques_to_guide_readings_and_help_the_interpretation_of_the_literature

You can get the article by following the link. It should set you on the right track.

  • Thank you. Did not mark it as an accepted answer yet because I have to check it out first. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 16:32

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