UM Research Honored For International Impact

MISSOULA – A respected international ranking organization recently listed the University of Montana among the most impactful institutions in the U.S. for research.

The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020 offers insights into the research performance of more than 1,000 major universities worldwide. The organization defines impact as the proportion of publications by university researchers that belong in the top 10% in their field. By that metric, UM landed at No. 48 in the United States for scientific impact.

“This latest ranking confirms what we already knew about our faculty in the sciences and humanities,” said Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship. “Our researchers routinely publish in the top journals in our fields, and those publications are frequently cited by researchers at other universities due to the high caliber of the research and the importance of those results to their disciplines.”

Whittenburg said 14% of UM researchers had publications that ranked in the top 10% of their fields. This nested UM among such prestigious institutions as the University of Wisconsin-Madison (No. 47, with 14.1% of it researchers in the top 10% of publications) and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champagne (No. 54, with 13.6% in the top 10%).

Additionally, Leiden ranked UM at No. 8 in the U.S. for collaboration with other institutions – with collaboration defined as the percentage of publications co-authored with faculty members for other universities.

At UM, 87% of publications were done in collaboration with researchers at other institutions. This puts UM in the company of Caltech (No. 6, with 87.1% collaboration), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (No. 15, with 82.6% collaboration) and Harvard (No. 19, with 85.3% collaboration).

“The CWTS Leiden Ranking highlighted the collaborative nature of our faculty and research as they publish with leading thinkers around the world,” Whittenburg said.

The Leiden Ranking provides information exclusively about the research done at universities. Research is represented in publications, and carefully collected data about these publications forms the basis for the ranking. This basis also ensures the independence of the Leiden Ranking, since there is no reliance on data submitted by the universities themselves.

“Even while facing a global pandemic, UM faculty continue to generate impactful research that expands the boundaries of knowledge,” UM President Seth Bodnar said. “The Leiden Ranking reveals not only the quality of research happening at UM but also reflects our faculty members’ commitment to asking and finding answers to consequential questions. This is UM at its best.”

The rankings and other information about the CWTS Leiden Ranking are online at