Stanford University has published a new edition of its ranking, which includes around 200,000 researchers from all over the world
UOC researchers are among the 2% that are the world's most cited in scientific studies
Researchers at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) are once again on the list of the world's most influential scientists, as they are among the 2% of the most cited researchers in 2022 in any discipline, according to the Stanford University ranking. This year's list includes more than 200,000 scientists from all over the world, including the UOC professors and researchers Xavier Vilajosana and Hug March. The ranking also includes Margarita Triguero-Mas, a new member of the UOC's Faculty of Health Sciences and researcher in the Planetary Health group. The ranking is published annually, based on information provided by Scopus, a database owned by Elsevier, containing bibliographic references and citations of peer-reviewed journal articles, books and conference proceedings.
Sustainability and political ecology
Hug March is a member of the Faculty of Economics and Business and a researcher at the Urban Transformation and Global Change Laboratory (TURBA Lab), affiliated to the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3). His research focuses on the study of water management and urban political ecology in order to understand the various technological, sociodemographic and political-economic processes that affect socio-environmental governance. He acknowledged his inclusion on the list once again this year "with some satisfaction, because it is further recognition of hard work" and shows that his work "on sustainability and political ecology, carried out in collaboration with members of the TURBA Lab and other colleagues from other universities, is internationally recognized in the field of geography and in urban studies and regional planning."
In addition, March believes that this recognition also shows that "the UOC can receive international recognition in various fields in the social sciences, and reaffirms that there is still a great deal of research of excellence to be done in sustainability at an urban and regional level within the context of the climate emergency."
The most cited articles include earlier papers as well as some more recent ones, such as two articles that were recently published in Progress in Human Geography, one of the world's leading geography journals, which address the financialization of the water sector and the political and environmental impact of weeds. March co-authored the latter article with Lucía Argüelles, another researcher at the TURBA Lab.
Articles, patents and internet standards
Xavier Vilajosana, the current vice rector for Research, Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship, is the lead researcher of the Wireless Networks (WINE) group affiliated to the IN3, which studies and develops technologies to improve the way in which electronic and digital devices capture and communicate information. According to Vilajosana, the presence of researchers from the university in the ranking shows that "the research we do at the UOC is comparable to the research carried out at institutions which receive much more funding and scientific recognition." He also stressed that inclusion on the list "shows you where you are" and added that "having some perspective of the context is positive and necessary, since it keeps us scientifically alert and competitive."
As regards the role of his research group, he stressed that this ranking not only measures articles, but also "other factors such as patents and standards," and that the research of the WINE group has endeavoured to meet the technological needs of the industrial and production sectors for some years. "We like to focus on technological challenges that enable different organizations to make progress in their products or knowledge once they have been overcome. We create this impact because we have a very good understanding of the challenges, and we answer the questions that those sectors ask," he stressed. He is also the author of internet standards: between 2018 and 2022, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), an open standards organization, published several documents he authored which were aimed at standardizing control aspects of low-rate wireless networks.
Towards fairer and more responsible research assessment
Citations in the publications included in this ranking is one of the factors used to evaluate scientific impact. According to Vilajosana, research assessment is "complicated because there is no perfect solution" and he stressed the importance of "hybrid models in which both quantitative and qualitative indicators are used to understand the impact of the research being carried out. However, the key to the model is for everyone to ask themselves what research they are doing, why they are doing it and what the answer they are looking for is."
In this respect, the UOC is aligned with the international movements that are committed to a new form of research assessment. In 2019, the University was one of the institutions that signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), aimed at making research assessment based on its quality and impact, within the framework of the Open Knowledge Action Plan, which is committed to qualitative research assessment.
In addition, in 2021 the UOC was one of the universities that formed the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA), an international agreement between research organizations, funding bodies, authorities and assessment agencies, as well as associations of research organizations, scientific societies and other leading institutions, aimed at working together to improve research assessment practices.
The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health.
Over 500 researchers and more than 50 research groups work in the UOC's seven faculties, its eLearning Research programme and its two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).
Open knowledge and the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu.
Hug March Corbella
Lecturer in the Economics and Business Studies Department
Expert in: Self-sufficient and resilient cities, smart cities, urban water management, degrowth, fab labs, ICTs and the environment (smart meters etc), citizen perceptions of environmental problems, urban farming, and new financial actors in environmental management.
Knowledge area: Urban political ecology, urban political economics.
Member of the UOC's Faculty of Health Sciences and researcher in the Planetary Health group.
Vice rector for Research, Knowledge Transfer and Entrepreneurship and lead researcher of the WINE group (IN3)