Prestigious world award for scientists from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra

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Prof. Ing. Marián Brestič, CSc., and doc. Ing. Marek Živčák, PhD., from the Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources of the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra received the prestigious world award Highly Cited Researchers 2020, which ranks them among the absolute world leaders (top 0.1% of researchers) in the field of Plant and Animal Sciences. Experts in the field of ecophysiology and stress physiology of crops have long been concerned with the effects of environmental stressors on the photosynthetic apparatus of plants and the application of non-invasive methods in the diagnosis of functional state of plants. The awarded scientists are part of the Top Team identified by the Accreditation Commission at the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic. Prof. M. Brestič is also last year's finalist in the ESET Science Award and the winner of the 2019 public award vote.

Worldwide, more than 6,000 scientists in 21 scientific fields have been included in the prestigious Highly Cited Researcher 2020 list based on the number of highly cited scientific articles they have produced in the last ten years (2009 to 2019). The methodology, which identifies a group of scientists with real global scientific and technological impact, is based on the analysis of data performed by bibliography experts at the Institute for Scientific Information within Clarivate Analytics, using Web of Science ™ (WOS) publication and citation data. The ranking selects the winners from among all researchers from all scientific fields who have published their work in journals registered in the WOS database over the last ten years.

The list is considered to be the most prestigious and globally watched scientific ranking based on citation impact tracking. Its importance is also underlined by the fact that the number of researchers included in the Highly Cited Researchers (HCR) is one of the criteria scored in the rankings of world universities. For example, the most prestigious, the so-called Shanghai ranking gives the number of HCRs the same weight as the number of Nobel Prize winners of their employees (20% of the total rating). The presence of a researcher classified as HCR can thus move universities with lower rankings in the rankings by hundreds of places higher. Scientists who can boast of this title are therefore highly valued and appreciated by even the most prestigious universities, and their names and biographies are presented on the front pages of university websites around the world.

In Slovakia, before 2020, the title "Highly Cited Researcher" was awarded to two researchers, one from the Slovak University of Technology (2017) and one from Comenius University (2019), which were joined by two researchers from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra. Like Slovakia, Hungary and Romania have two representatives from the surrounding countries, slightly better is Poland, which has four representatives and, for example, a giant like Russia has only six scientists in the ranking. Several European countries from the former Eastern block (eg Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia) do not have any representatives. Of the post-communist countries in Europe, the Czech Republic ranked best with ten HCRs, of which up to six are from the Czech Academy of Sciences, while four universities, including Charles University, have one representative each. Most HCRs are in the USA, China, Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, as well as in other Western European countries.

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