Research excellence, highly cited and globally connected

Almost one in ten publications co-authored by scientists from the University of Würzburg between 2014 and 2017 were among the top five percent of most frequently cited papers. This puts the University of Würzburg on an outstanding fourth place among German institutions and among the best 120 universities worldwide.

When looking at the Leiden Rankings by disciplines, it becomes evident that the University of Würzburg is excellently positioned especially in the field of life sciences. More than one in eight publications are among the top five percent of most highly cited papers in this domain – more than at any other German university (no. 1 in Germany, no. 52 worldwide). But the University of Würzburg also ranks top in biomedicine and health sciences (no. 3 in Germany, no. 75 in the world) as well as mathematics and informatics (no. 9 in Germany, no. 157 internationally), leading the field in Germany.

Globally connected: catching up with the leaders

The percentage of papers written in collaboration with international research institutions is another impressive indicator of the university’s research excellence: In the past years, the number of these publications at the University of Würzburg has steadily increased from around 47 percent in the first Leiden Ranking (2011/12) to just under 60 percent today, catapulting the University of Würzburg into the top ten universities in Germany (no. 8) for international research collaborations for the first time.

How the Leiden Ranking works

The Leiden Ranking measures the research excellence of a university based exclusively on bibliometric data: The result is influenced by the number of publications and the number of citations these publications get. Surveys, student and staff numbers, third-party funds and budget funds as well as scientific awards and prizes are, however, not taken into account.

To be considered in the Leiden Ranking, a university must have at least 1,000 English-language publications in internationally recognised journals in the “Web of Science” database from 2014 to 2017. In 2019, 963 universities from 56 countries met this requirement.


The Leiden Ranking not only allows individual disciplines or countries to be analysed separately but also enables universities to be ranked based on a number of different criteria (e.g. the number of publications, the percentage of all publications that feature among the top five most highly cited papers which were created through international collaboration).

Media Contact
Dr. Esther Knemeyer Pereira
[email protected]