Two researchers from the Leibniz Institute DSMZ are among the most cited scientists in the world

PD Dr. Markus Göker (left) and Dr. Jan Meier-Kolthoff (right)

This year, Assistant Professor Dr Markus Göker and Dr Jan Meier-Kolthoff from the Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH in Braunschweig, Germany, are again among the world's most cited scientists termed “Highly Cited Researchers” (HCR). Scientists usually cite the most important work previously published on the topic in their papers. This makes the total number of citations of a paper a primary indicator of the quality of the research behind it.
The two bioinformaticians from Braunschweig, Germany, are on the 2022 list, published on November 15th by the analytics company Clarivate Analytics™ based on the publication database Web of Science™. According to the evaluation of Clarivate Analytics™, the two DSMZ researchers have had an exceptional research influence, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers published between 2011 and 2021 that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science™. Markus Göker is listed for the fourth time in a row and Jan Meier-Kolthoff for the third time in a row. The global list contains the names of 6,938 researchers of which 369 are located in Germany. The complete list can be found at Both awards were given in the "Microbiology" category showing the importance that bioinformatics nowadays have on this important field within the life sciences. Moreover, it also underlines the role of DSMZ as an interdisciplinary infrastructure institution.

Pioneering work in genome-based taxonomy and phylogenomics
Both scientists work in the department Bioinformatics and Databases in which Dr. Markus Göker leads the working group Phylogenomics. For more than a decade both bioinformaticians establish methods and tools at the DSMZ for the genome-based taxonomy of organisms (primarily prokaryotes) and viruses. Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification of organisms and viruses and was heavily advanced in the last 15 years by bioinformatics and the so-called “-omics revolution”. Three highly-cited examples of their work include (1) the Type Strain Genome Server (TYGS), a high-throughput database-driven platform for genome-based taxonomy of microbes, (2) the Virus Classification and Tree Building Online Resource (VICTOR), an in silico framework for the phylogeny and classification of prokaryotic viruses, and, (3) the Genome-to-Genome Distance Calculator (GGDC), a web service for the genome-based delineation of prokaryotic (sub-)species, which is nowadays routinely used in almost any novel species description.

How the Highly Cited Researchers List is determined
If you’ve ever wondered how the top researchers are selected, Clarivate™ draws its data from the published papers that rank in the top one per cent by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science™ citation index. Data scientists and bibliometric experts at Clarivate™ assess the final list. Two especially noteworthy quality-assuring filter criteria applied by Clarivate™ are the removal of (1) massively multi-authored highly cited papers with more than 30 authors or explicit group authorships and (2) researchers whose level of self-citation exceeded, by far, the typical patterns of each field. Details to the methodology are found at

Press contact:
PhDr. Sven-David Müller, Head of Public Relations, Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH
Phone: ++49 (0)531/2616-300
Mail: press(at)

About the Leibniz Institute DSMZ
The Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures is the world's most diverse collection of biological resources (bacteria, archaea, protists, yeasts, fungi, bacteriophages, plant viruses, genomic bacterial DNA as well as human and animal cell lines). Microorganisms and cell cultures are collected, investigated and archived at the DSMZ. As an institution of the Leibniz Association, the DSMZ with its extensive scientific services and biological resources has been a global partner for research, science and industry since 1969. The DSMZ was the first registered collection in Europe (Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014) and is certified according to the quality standard ISO 9001:2015. As a patent depository, it offers the only possibility in Germany to deposit biological material in accordance with the requirements of the Budapest Treaty. In addition to scientific services, research is the second pillar of the DSMZ. The institute, located on the Science Campus Braunschweig-Süd, accommodates more than 82,000 cultures and biomaterials and has around 200 employees.

The Leibniz Association
The Leibniz Association connects 97 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – including in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to a transparent, independent evaluation. Because of their importance for the country as a whole, the Leibniz Association Institutes are funded jointly by Germany’s central and regional governments. The Leibniz Institutes employ around 20,500 people, including 11,500 researchers. The financial volume amounts to 2 billion euros.