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Nine AU researchers are among the most cited experts in Denmark in 2022

Nine researchers from Aarhus University are on the top-50 list of most-cited experts in Danish media in 2022. Experts on war and foreign policy are now at the top of the list, now that public interest in the coronavirus has waned. There are only three women on the top-50 list of most-cited experts in the media, and none of them are from AU.

Photo: Colourbox

The DM Akademikerbladet top-50 list is based on a search in the Infomedia database and includes citations in online and print media as well as radio and TV appearances. Infomedia has Denmark’s largest archive of articles, and analyzes and monitors their use. Unlike previous lists, this year’s list does not include experts employed at government agencies or in think tanks and similar organisations.

Read more: Eksperten er stadig en mand: Kun 3 kvinder på top 50-listen over de mest citerede forskere sidste år

Source: DM Akademikerbladet and Infomedia

The article was updated on Feb. 9 with quotations from Professor Michael Svarer. 

In 2022, virologists, epidemiologists and doctors bowed out of the spotlight; top billing was taken was taken over by experts on war, foreign policy and energy, ushered in by the war in Ukraine.

This is one of the trends evident in the latest DM Akademikerbladet top-50 list of the most-cited experts in Danish media for last year. The list was compiled by Infomedia for Akademikerbladet.

The researcher at the top of the list is Brian Vad Mathiasen, an Aalborg University professor who specializes in energy planning. According to the list, he was cited 2,183 times last year, more than twice as many times as number four, AU’s own Michael Svarer, a professor of economics who is the top-placed source from AU. AU also holds the fifth and six places: two professors of political science, Rune Stubager and Michael Bang Petersen, were cited 847 and 788 times respectively. There are nine AU researchers on the list.

Flemming Splidsboel Hansen, a senior researcher in foreign policy at DIIS, is number two on the list. Number three is Associate Professor Peter Viggo Jakobsen, an expert in strategy and war studies at the Royal Danish Defence College.

All three of these researchers work in fields that have become much more relevant in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which also goes for a lot of the other researchers on the list, 17 of whom are included for the first time.

Michael Svarer: It’s my job to contribute

AU professor and former chair of the government’s economic advisory council has appeared on the list since 2020, when it was published for the first time. He consider contributing his knowledge to the public as his duty:

“I believe that one of our jobs as university employees is to communicate research to the rest of society, and it’s important that the knowledge at the universities, which of course is based on evidence, is shared with society so that  decisions are made on a fully informed basis,” he said.

“And within my field, it’s mostly in relation to economic policy. When economic interventions are made, I think it’s important that the knowledge we have at the universities is brought into play. Because that way, we reduce the risk that unwise decisions are made that are not research-based.”

Svarer also observed that journalists are often the link between politicians and the universities, which means that he can also use the media to gain a kind of inside knowledge or feedback about what’s going on and the areas in which more research is needed.

But even though he’s one of Denmark’s most cited researchers, he has learned to approach journalist’s requests strategically over the years. When he was younger, he sometimes performed calculations and read reports at the request of journalists; he doesn’t do that now. Instead, he tends to respond to requests for comment that don’t require him to prepare a lot in advance: 

“It’s something I make time for, and obviously, I do spend a lot of time on it,” Svarer said. “But I’ve become more strategic, and it’s often quite flexible. My background is in macroeconomics, and I’ve been a member of the national economic council as well as chairing it, and I’ve sat on a lot of commissions and committees. This means that I have a broad understanding of the basics of how the economy functions, so it doesn’t really require any preparation. Often journalists will ring, we talk for ten minutes, and that’s basically that. Of course, I say only what I know on the basis of the knowledge I have.”

Svarer is also highly conscious of how the media works. In the case of some very topical stories, a researcher can become the source all the journalists call. He’s been that researcher.

“It’s also self-reinforcing,” he said. If there’s a hot topic and you get involved early on, you become the one journalists call. Not because I’m necessarily the person with the greatest knowledge of whatever the topic happens to be, but because I pop up in the journalists’ searches.

“But it all depends. And if I’m busy, then I just don’t pick up the phone. Of course I can see whether it’s my wife, child or mom, or whether it’s an unknown number.”

Dramatic shifts in AU researchers’ rankings

In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic heavily influenced the top-50 lists. This was particularly true in 2020, when 42 of the 50 researchers on the list were cited in connection with the Covid pandemic. The top 15 researchers on the list were all experts in Covid-related subjects – among them the American immunologist Anthony Fauci.

In 2022, several of AU’s researchers moved either up or down in the ranking over 2021, often quite dramatically. Rune Stubager leaped from no. 41 on the list to no. 5 in 2022, while Michael Svarer rose to no. 4 from no. 21.

Christian Wejse, a professor of epidemiology at Aarhus University, slipped to no. 35 from no. 11, while Søren Riis Paludan, a professor of molecular virology and immunology, was no. 42 last year, down from no. 13 in 2021. One AU researcher who debuted on the list last year is Lasse Lund Madsen, a professor at the Department of Law at AU.  

One trend that did not change in 2022 was the overwhelming preponderance of men on the list.

There were only three women on the top-50 list in 2022. There were six women on the list in 2021, and seven in 2020.

Top 10 (no. of citations)

1. Brian Vad Mathiesen – professor, energy planning Aalborg University (2,183)

2. Flemming Splidsboel Hansen – senior researcher, foreign policy and diplomacy, DIIS (1,847)

3. Peter Viggo Jakobsen – associate professor, Institut for Strategi og Krigsstudier, Royal Danish Defence College (1,421)

4. Michael Svarer – professor, macroeconomics, Aarhus University (1,069)

5. Rune Stubager – professor, political science, Aarhus University (847)

6. Michael Bang Petersen – professor, political science, Aarhus University (778)

7. Jes Søgaard – professor, director of CPop (demographics, aging and public health), University of Southern Denmark (772)

8. Jakob Kjellberg – professor, healthcare economics, VIVE (736)

9. Viggo Andreasen – associate professor, mathematics, Roskilde University (725)

10. Allan Randrup Thomsen – professor, experimental virology, University of Copenhagen (706)

The nine AU researchers on the list of the most-cited experts in the media in 2022 (no. of citations):

4. Michael Svarer – professor, macroeconomics, Aarhus University (1,069)

5. Rune Stubager – professor, political science, Aarhus University (847)

6. Michael Bang Petersen – professor, political science, Aarhus University (778)

14. Eskild Petersen – emeritus professor, infectious diseases, Aarhus University (628)

24. Lars Østergaard – clinical professor and chair, head consultant, Aarhus University Hospital (454)

29. Jørgen E. Olesen – professor, head of the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University (385)

35. Christian Wejse – consultant, professor, global health and cross-cultural medicine, Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University (319)

36. Lasse Lund Madsen – professor, law, Aarhus University (312) 

42. Søren Riis Paludan – professor, molecular virology and immunology, Aarhus University (266)