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“Highly cited” - Nine DKFZ researchers in the top class

No. 32 | 10/07/2019 | by Koh

Scientists whose work is being cited very often by peers are regarded as exceptionally acknowledged and influential in their fields. Therefore, citation counts are a common benchmark for assessing the scientific performance of individual researchers. For 2018, nine scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) reached a top place in this assessment: They rank in the top 1% of the world's highly cited researchers for their field.


The rate at which a scientific paper is being cited by peers in their own publications is an important measure for assessing the significance of research work. Since 2014, the U.S.-based company Clarivate Analytics has published an annual list recognizing the world's highly cited researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and medicine as well as economic and social sciences.

Approximately 6,000 researchers from around the globe have made it to the latest list. They rank in the top one percent of the world's most highly cited researchers for their fields. Of the 356 listed researchers from institutions in Germany, nine scientists come from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.

"Those who have reached such a top spot in the exclusive group of the world's highly cited researchers have definitely advanced their scientific field with their research results," said DKFZ Chairman and Scientific Director Michael Baumann. "We are proud of our colleagues at the DKFZ, who have made major contributions to the benefit of people's health."

Among the nine listed DKFZ researchers, Hermann Brenner has a special role. In the group of highly cited researchers, he ranks in the small 5 % group of authors with exceptional performance in two scientific categories at once. Brenner, an epidemiologist, who is recognized as the leading expert in the evaluation of cancer prevention measures, publishes papers in specialist journals of clinical medicine as well as social sciences.

Ralf Bartenschlager (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital) has made it to the Clarivate list for the second time in recognition of his groundbreaking research results on the hepatitis C virus.

David Capper (formerly DKFZ, since 2018 Charité Hospital in Berlin) and Andreas von Deimling (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital; listed for the second time) are globally known for developing diagnostic antibodies for detecting specific mutations. These are used worldwide for enhanced assessment of brain cancer.

David Jones, Marcel Kool, Andrey Korshunov, Peter Lichter and Stefan Pfister have been chosen for their performance in the cross-field category. The scientists, who, except for Lichter, also work at the Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), are among the world's most renowned experts for molecular genetics of childhood brain cancer. They also have substantial influence on medical care for young cancer patients and therefore also publish papers in specialist journals for clinical medicine.

In the present list, Clarivate Analytics has included the authors of all scientific papers published between 2006 and 2016 that ranked in the top 1% of highly cited papers at the end of 2016.

Depending on the size of the field, the number of citations needed to be positioned in the top 1% varies. By far the highest number of highly cited researchers come from the United States (2,639), followed by the United Kingdom (546), China (482) and Germany (356).

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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