Skip to main content

The 2020 Altmetric Top 100 list includes six research papers featuring Exeter academics

Exeter research receives global recognition

Research conducted by University of Exeter experts has been recognised among the most shared and discussed of 2020.

Six research papers featuring Exeter academics have been included in the most recent Altmetric Top 100 list released yesterday (20 January).

The papers involve researchers from across five different colleges and cover a wide variety of subjects; from discovering humans visited caves in a remote part of Mexico 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, to the dynamics of inter-group relationships of mountain gorillas.

12th on the list is the paper, Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement, from May 2020 that found a 17% drop in global carbon emissions due to Covid19. The research team included Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, Chair in Mathematical Modelling of the Climate System at the University of Exeter. The paper also made the top spot on Carbon Brief’s most talked-about climate change papers of 2020.

The Nature paper, Evidence of human occupation in Mexico around the Last Glacial Maximum, involving research by archaeologist Dr Ciprian Ardelean, of the University of Zacatecas in Mexico and the University of Exeter, ranked 50th on the list. It unveiled the discovery that a cave in a remote part of Mexico was visited by humans around 30,000 years ago – 15,000 years earlier than people were previously thought to have reached the Americas.

Ranking 52nd is the paper Two Directly Imaged, Wide-orbit Giant Planets around the Young, Solar Analog TYC 8998-760-1 involving Dr Steven Rieder, Postdoctoral Research Fellow from Exeter’s astrophysics department, which shows for the first time, scientists have captured images of multiple planets orbiting a sun-like star.

A paper led by Dr Robin Morrison, of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Exeter’s Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, Inter-group relationships influence territorial defence in mountain gorillas, that found mountain gorilla groups are friendly to familiar neighbours – provided they stay out of "core" parts of their territory, reached number 58.

Turing’s children: Representation of sexual minorities in STEM - a study co-authored by Dr Dario Sansone, from the University of Exeter’s Business School, that found men in same-sex relationships are significantly less likely to have a degree in a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject than men in different-sex couples, ranked 73rd.

Finally, Spending time in the garden is positively associated with health and wellbeing: Results from a national survey in England, led by Dr Sian de Bell of The European Centre for Environment & Human Health (ECEHH), part of the University of Exeter Medical School, made number 90 on the list. The study, which also involved ECEHH colleagues Dr Mathew White, Dr Benedict Wheeler, Dr Rebecca Lovell and Dr Timothy Taylor, found that people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health, higher psychological wellbeing and greater physical activity levels than those who do not spend time in the garden.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), Professor Neil Gow FRS, said: “These papers represent the outstanding quality and distinctive nature of research at Exeter, I’m delighted to see such exciting work that is truly at the frontiers of their respective disciplines.”

The annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights research and scholarly commentary published in 2020 that generated significant international online attention and discussion – from patents and public policy documents to mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia and social media platforms. This year's Top 100 represents the most discussed research from all disciplines, selecting the top five works by Altmetric Attention Score from twenty subjects.

From Covid-19, to engineering the perfect espresso, controversial, important, and unusual research and scholarly editorials from across the sciences, arts, and humanities feature in this year's list.

Kathy Christian, CEO, Altmetric, said: “It’s fascinating to see the trends that shape the Top 100 list each year. In 2020, Covid-19 dominated the minds of everyone and scientific research was front and center in the global media as pharmaceutical companies rushed to find a vaccine for this deadly virus. But it is also important to remember that other, important, research was also taking place. Research on racial justice, climate change, the origins of life and other crucial issues also garnered significant attention in 2020. This list demonstrated the crucial role that research plays in our everyday lives.”

View the full list at:

Date: 21 January 2021

Read more University News