Research recognition a ‘nice feather in MUSC’s cap’

December 09, 2021
Dr Lemasters poses in his laboratory
MUSC had 134 of its faculty on Stanford's prestigious list, including Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences professor and researcher John Lemasters, M.D., Ph.D. Photo by Alex Holt

In 2019, Stanford University began compiling a list of the most referenced – and in a way, most influential – researchers in the world. Casually known in scientific circles as “the 2% list,” it serves as a scoreboard, if you will, as to how frequently scientists all over the globe are cited in research papers. Combing through the work of millions worldwide – a task that doesn’t just focus on medical researchers but scientists across all disciplines, including math, engineering, chemistry and physics – Stanford University determines the top 100,000 researchers across all fields as well as the top 2% in their own subfield disciplines. 

Naturally, making the list means you’re a part of the scientific elite – the ones who are moving the meter, explained Patrick Woster, Ph.D., MUSC professor and SmartState Endowed Chair in the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences.

“Being cited in the science world is what researchers like us hope for; it’s what we do this for – to have our science recognized,” he said, before adding with a chuckle, “Well, aside from creating some drug or device and selling it for millions of dollars.”

In its latest publishing, which was featured in PLOS Biology, a well-respected monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal that covers all aspects of biology, MUSC saw 134 of its faculty make the elite list, a jaw-dropping number relative to the university’s size.

“Being cited in the science world is what researchers like us hope for;


it’s what we do this for – to have our science recognized.”


Patrick Woster, Ph.D.

Of those 134, five MUSC faculty members made the top 2% across all fields. They are Peter Kalivas, Ph.D.; John Lemasters, M.D., Ph.D.; Bruce Hollis, Ph.D.; Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D.; and Don Rockey, M.D.

Though it’s still a relatively new yardstick, Woster said making the list has real prestige attached to it. 

“To be on this list is a tangible measure of the impact of your research. If you publish a research paper that is cited heavily, it indicates that paper is well-regarded by the research community. And the impact of your paper is directly related to the impact of your research,” he said. “It’s really kind of a big deal.”

Faculty members from all six colleges were represented on the 2% list, which is “a really nice feather in MUSC's cap,” said Woster. “The fact that we have this percentage of our faculty on this list – it really speaks to the quality of biomedical research being conducted at MUSC.”