I wonder where I can find the number of citations the top x % of researchers of a given research field have received. I'm still specifically interested in the following two research fields: natural language processing and computer vision.

(No self-infatuation intended: I received some third-party request, but I'm fully aware of the numerous bibliometric pitfalls.)

  • 6
    This will be sensitive to how you decide to count the total # of researchers in a field. I don't believe there is a clear place to draw the line between who counts and who doesn't. Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 22:17
  • 4
    This will also be sensitive to how citations are counted. Every platform yields a different number, in part because every platform indexes different subsets of publications. (I just checked seven different platforms for my own citation record. I got seven different numbers, the largest of which was more than three times larger than the smallest.)
    – JeffE
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 22:33
  • @DavidKetcheson true but the method to draw the line is likely field-independent, so at least it'll keep its comparative usefulness. One way is simply to count as researcher anyone with at least one publication. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 0:08
  • 1
    @JeffE good point, ideally let's use all publications to count citations Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 0:11
  • @FranckDernoncourt Right, but what counts as a "publication"? Review/survey article? Conference proceedings paper? Unrefereed workshop abstract? PhD thesis? Master's thesis? Research monograph? Textbook? arXiv preprint? PDF on ResearchGate? Patent? Github repository? Popular press book? Graphic novel? Blog post? YouTube video? Wikipedia article?
    – JeffE
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


Use Web of Science (paywalled).

Search by the topic ("natural language processing"). You'll reach a page with, as of time of writing, 30,348 results. You can now sort the papers by authors (in the left-hand panel), and select the top x% researchers that way. Then you pick the author at the bottom of that x%, find only the papers by him/her, and generate a citation report.

As of time of writing, there are 62,594 authors. I'm not going to download all the data, but Web of Science makes it possible to display the top 500 of them. The 500th-ranked author is JIMENEZ-LOPEZ MD, which a quick Google search finds is this professor. Web of Science gives her h-index as 4, number of times cited as 59, and the number of citing articles as 44.

If you need help with operating Web of Science, feel free to ask your librarian.


Monsteriah suggested to search by keyword on Google Scholar: this indeed allows us to get some decent estimate of the number of citations the top x researchers in a given research field (defined by a Google Scholar keyword such as "computer vision" or "natural language processing").


Note: while it is very tempting to manually change the "astart" parameter in the URL https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=search_authors&hl=en&mauthors=label:natural_language_processing&before_author=ecWn_88nAAAJ&astart=190, this doesn't work and the result is misleading: the pagination will change but the display authors won't. One has to also change the parameter "after_author".


  • I don't know whether there is a way to retrieve the number of researchers with a given keyword on Google Scholar so this may not allow us to find the number of citations the top x % of researchers of a given research field have received.
  • It is very tedious to look at top 2000 researchers or more because once has to scroll down and click for each 10 researchers due to the current Google Scholar user interface.
  • It requires the authors to have a Google Scholar provide. Most do, at least in the computer science researchers who are alive, but not all. I believe it also requires that the authors have indicated keywords.

Screenshot of the keywords in a Google Scholar profile:

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