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I'd like to write down a list of the top authors in my field in order to keep up to date with literature. Can anybody suggest any systematic approach to build such a list?

  • Is this about top authors or researchers? – Dirk Oct 27 '14 at 10:07
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    Can you please elaborate on the difference? – Pablo Suau Oct 27 '14 at 10:08
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    Do you want the people to be good authors or researchers? Some people do great work but publish badly written papers or publish very little. Other not do groudbreaking work but are great writers. – Dirk Oct 27 '14 at 10:13
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    By top authors I mean the most cited ones, those who have/had a great influence in the ongoing development of their field. – Pablo Suau Oct 27 '14 at 10:34
  • Again, these are two different things… – Dirk Oct 27 '14 at 12:13
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Disclaimer: I am definitely no expert in research, but let me just share with you how I do it.

I do it largely by the help of Google Scholar (Hoo-ray for Google!). In order to make it sound "systematic", I phrase my way in two steps and an extra optional step.

  1. Step 1: Obtain the name list of the top authors in the field of interest from Google Scholar. Since many researchers, especially in the filed of EECS, use Google Scholar, and they usually list their "research interests" in the form of tags (e.g., machine learning), we can view the authors conveniently by research interest. For example, see the results here for the top authors in the field of machine learning. You will notice that the list is automatically sorted in descending order in terms of citations.
  2. Step 2: Stay tuned for new papers by these authors with the help of Google Email Alerts. Once you have browsed through the top author list, you should have shortlisted several most interested authors. To receive an email notification when they have new papers available online, simple click Follow on the right side of their names. Voila! You will receive an email every time they have new research published from now on! enter image description here
  3. Optional Step: Another thing I also do every year on top of the previous two points is to skim through this year's proceedings of the famous conference/journals in the field. This way, you may get a sense of what is hot these days.
  • Thank you for your answer. Easy to put into practice. Do you review your "author subscriptions" on a regular basis? – Pablo Suau Oct 27 '14 at 11:21
  • @siew r u referring to step 2 by saying subscription? Google sends the email to you – Sibbs Gambling Oct 27 '14 at 11:22
  • I refer to step 1. More specifically: do you change your list of top authors with time? – Pablo Suau Oct 27 '14 at 11:37
  • @siew Since I just started researching, I am still studying the "1st batch". But yes, I definitely will refresh my list as I go along the way. ;) – Sibbs Gambling Oct 27 '14 at 14:20
  • Note that how well Google Scholar works for identifying top researchers in a field depends heavily on the field. In some fields (especially outside of hard/computational sciences, it seems), many prominent researchers are not represented there. – BrenBarn Oct 27 '14 at 18:22

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