In a recent survey of the top institutions in geosciences, UC Santa Cruz ranked 18th in the world. The ranking reflects the quality of UCSC's research in geosciences and its influence on the field.

The survey was conducted by the British publication Times Higher Education (THE), using data provided by Thomson Reuters from its Essential Science Indicators database. The analysis looked at scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals during the period from January 1999 through June 2009. The rankings were based on the number of citations per paper, a measure of the impact a paper's findings have on the field.

"The ranking by citations per paper (impact) seeks to reveal 'heavy-hitters' based on per-paper influence, not mere output," explained an article accompanying the rankings, published in THE in November 2009.

In this study, the category of "geosciences" includes atmospheric research and oceanography as well as geology and Earth sciences. At UCSC, this would include research conducted in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Ocean Sciences.

"To be ranked 18th among research institutions worldwide over a ten year period is an extremely significant accomplishment and speaks to the quality and reputation of our Earth and ocean scientists over a sustained period of time," said Gary Griggs, distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences and director of the Institute of Marine Sciences.

About half of the top 20 institutions are national laboratories and research centers, including the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the top of the list, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (3rd), and the U.K.'s National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (9th). The only other UC campus in the top 20 is UC Santa Barbara (10th).