AKIRA Shizuo, the most cited researcher

March 7, 2007- Thomson Scientific, leading provider of academic information, announced that AKIRA Shizuo (審良 静男) of Osaka University (Immunology) has been recognized as the 2005-2006 “Hottest Researcher” for the second consecutive year.

The researchers named published the most Hot Papers in the latest two-year period (2004-2006). Thomson Scientific identifies a published work as a Hot Paper if it has been cited in scientific journals more times than papers of similar type and age and has been ranked in top 0.1%. Researchers are ranked by the number of Hot Papers they have published. Those who make significant contribution to modern scientific thought are recognized as the hottest researchers,.

Seven papers authored by Professor AKIRA have been named ‘Hot Papers’. Among these, the most cited was published in the February 2006 issue of the journal “Cell.” It has been cited 29 times during the period reviewed.

His research subjects are biological defense mechanisms, signaling pathways of cytokines, and function analysis of biological molecules using knockout mice. Much attention has been focused on these findings, which are expected to provide a clue to treatment of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, allergenic diseases, and immunotherapy of cancers.

AKIRA showed that “innate immunity”, which was considered an earlier and primitive system, controls the whole immune system including “acquired immunity,” an essential immune system in vertebrate animals. This Copernican-type discovery resolves a mechanism of allergy and rheumatism and solves a mystery in organic evolution, contributing to the development of a new immunotherapy for cancer.

In the 2004-2005 period, with 10 researchers named to the list, Japan was second only to the United States with seven researchers.

Japanese “Hottest” Researchers with number of Hot Papers are listed below;
1. AKIRA Shizuo of Osaka University (Immunology) 11
2. Tamura Norio of Niigata University (Physics) 8
3. Watanabe Yasushi of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Physics) 7
4. Masashi Hazumi of KEK, Japan (Physics) 6
5. Toru Iijima of Nagoya University (Physics) 6
6. Nobuhiko Katayama of KEK, Japan (Physics) 6
7. Takeshi Okabe of Nagoya University (Physics) 6

“Our annual roundup of the hottest research celebrates those scientists making a significant impact,” said Christopher King, editor of Science Watch. “Having authored multiple Hot Papers is an achievement of the highest level, as it truly demonstrates their impact on modern scientific thought.”

According to press release by Thomson Scientific in April 2004, Tokyo University and Tohoku University ranked first in the world in the total number of citations of papers published in physics and materials science, respectively, for the third consecutive year.
Kyoko University ranked 2nd in chemistry and the University of Tokyo ranked 5th in biology & biochemistry. The Essential Science Indicators database of Thomson Scientific revealed that 24 Japanese institutions ranked in top 1% of highly cited papers during 10-year period.

In 2005 and 2006, Germany’s Max Planck Society takes the lead in the fields of chemistry, materials science and physics. Tohoku University places 2nd in materials science and The University of Tokyo also wins 2nd in physics.
Tohoku University and The University of Tokyo had taken the lead in each field in the previous years. Thomson Scientific stated that the fall from first place did not mean a decline in research performance at the Japanese Universities. In Germany, the work of more than 80 institutes and research bodies has been aggregated under the umbrella organization of the Max Planck Society. When the standings are viewed on the basis of independent institutes, Tohoku and Tokyo Universities retain the top ranking.