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Who are the leading global researchers in hypersonics technology?
The Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC) received a technical inquiry requesting a search of available databases to identify the top global researchers and organizations in hypersonics. DSIAC staff searched multiple literature databases, including Scopus and Web of Science (WoS), to provide information on the publications, number of citations, patents awarded, and pending patents held in hypersonics technology and research development. Four different lists of the top 10 global researchers and affiliations were compiled based on patents awarded, patents pending, and Scopus and WoS database publications and citations.
DSIAC completed literature searches for publications and patent information on hypersonics via the Scopus and Derwent Innovation databases. DSIAC used the search terms “hypersonics,” “hypersonics research,” and “hypersonic research OR technology.” The searches were limited to the past 3 years so that the results would reflect the most recent research. The results across all searches are compiled in Table 1.
Table 1: Top Researchers Across All Searches
|Researcher||No. of Patents Granted||No. of Patents Pending||No. of Scopus Publications||No. of WoS Publications|
|Boyd, Iain D.||—||—||25||—|
|Candler, Graham V.||—||—||24||—|
Note: WoS = Web of Science.
The following results are provided in Sections 2.0 and 3.0:
- Top researchers and organizations based on the number of patents awarded in hypersonics research.
- Top researchers and organizations based on patents pending.
- Research and patent trends among top countries performing hypersonics research.
- Top researchers and organizations based on the number of publications and citations found in Scopus.
- Top researchers and organizations found in the WoS database.
A spreadsheet containing patent information for the top results found in Derwent Innovations was exported and delivered to the inquirer for further review.
2.0 Top Researchers/ Organizations Based on Patents
The Derwent Innovation database, part of Clarivate Analytics, was used to search for global researchers in hypersonics based on the number of granted (awarded) patents and pending patent applications. Searches were performed using the terms “hypersonic AND (research OR technology)” and “hypersonic.”
The search parameters included patents granted in 2016 to present day and alive and indeterminate patents. The search term “hypersonic” was very general and returned a larger, more accurate depiction of global researchers in the overarching area of hypersonics. The total number of hits was 969, and 478 (i.e., 51%) of the patents are from the top 10 organizations (shown in Table 2).
Table 2: Top 10 Organizations Based on Patents Granted
|Organization||No. of Patents
|University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics||90||Tan, Hui-Jan||18|
|CenNavi Technologies Co. Ltd.
– China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics
|The Boeing Company||50||Embler, Jonathan||15|
|Academy of Military Sciences at the National University of Defense Technology||50||Liu, Jun||16|
|University of Beijing Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University)||50||Wang, Xiao-Jun||15|
|University of Xiamen||35||You, Yancheng||31|
|China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center||33||Xu, Xiaobin||19|
|University of Northwestern Polytechnical||28||Xu, Bin||11|
|Tsinghua University||24||Jiang, Pei-Xue||15|
The researchers identified in bold in Table 2 are also listed in Table 3 as the top 10 researchers based on patents granted. They hold 178 patents or 18% of the total patents found via the search.
Table 3: Top 10 Researchers Based on Patents Granted
|Researcher||No. of Patents Granted||Affiliation|
|You, Yancheng||31||University of Xiamen|
|Xu, Xiaobin||19||China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center|
|Li, Yi-Qing||19||University of Xiamen|
|Tan, Hui-Jan||18||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|Zhu, Tao||16||China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center|
|Liu, Jun||16||Academy of Military Sciences|
|Wang, Lei||16||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|Jiang, Pei-Xue||15||Tsinghua University|
|Wang, Xiao-Jun||15||University of Beijing Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University)|
|Lin, Jing-Zhou||14||China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center|
China, the United States, and Russia are the top patent holders in hypersonics research. Based on data from Derwent, the number of patents issued in each country from 2016 to 2019 has increased each year, suggesting hypersonics research is on the rise (shown in Figure 1).
Figure 1: Graph of U.S., Chinese, and Russian Patent Trends.
The top researchers and their affiliations based on the number of pending hypersonics patent applications without grants are shown in Table 4. Using the term “hypersonic,” the search was limited to alive and indeterminate patents from 2016 to present. Indeterminate patents were included because it was unclear whether they were dead or alive.
Table 4: Top Researchers Based on Pending Patents
|Researcher||No. of Pending Patents||Affiliation|
|Xu, Bin||10||University of Northwestern Polytechnical|
|Wang, Yi||8||Academy of Military Medical Sciences at the National University of Defense Technology|
|Wang, Yu-Hui||8||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|Luo, Jin-Ling||8||Beijing Kongtian Technology Research Institute|
|Fan, Xiao-Qiang||7||Academy of Military Medical Sciences at the National University of Defense Technology|
|Wu, Qing-Xian||7||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|You, Yancheng||6||Xiamen University|
|Chen, Mou||6||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|Li, Jia-Wei||6||University of Nanjing Aeronautics and Astronautics|
|Tang, Ji-Bin||6||· CenNavi Technologies Co. Ltd (China Academy of Aerospace and Aerodynamics)
· Beijing Kongtian Technology Research Institute
· Tsinghua University
3.0 Top Researchers/ Organizations Based on Publications and Citations
3.1 Scopus Search Results
DSIAC also used Scopus, a literature database, to search for researchers and organizations working in hypersonics and patents related to hypersonics. Scopus is the largest curated abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature containing over 71 million records, 23,000 peer-reviewed journals, and more than 166,000 books. Scopus uses sophisticated search tools that can search by document, author, or affiliation and can refine results by source type, year, language, author, affiliation, and more. As with other search engines, Boolean logic can narrow the number of citations to more relevant results. Scopus also contains hundreds of thousands of engineering conference papers not covered in alternative databases .
Using the term “hypersonic,” the Scopus search was limited to conference proceedings and journal articles from 2016 to present. The top 10 organizations are shown in Table 5, and the top 10 researchers are shown in Table 6. The rankings are based on number of publications and citations per organization/researcher. The h‑index metric is also included as an attempt to measure the productivity and citation impact of the publications of the researchers. The h‑index is based on an author’s number of publications and citations to provide an estimate of the importance and impact of his/her research contributions. The h-index means a researcher has index h if h of his/her publications have at least h citations each. For example, an h-index of 15 means that 15 of the author’s publications have received at least 15 citations each. The higher the h-index, the more credible the research.
Table 5: Top 10 Organizations Based on the Number of Publications
|Organization||No. of Documents||Top Researcher(s)||No. of
|Beihang University||237||Yan, Chongnian||36||95||10|
|Northwestern Polytechnical University||212||Zhou, Jun||24||37||10|
|National University of Defense Technology||195||Huang, Wei||27||302||31|
|Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics||184||Liu, Yanbin||14||13||6|
|China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center||157||Gui, Yewei||13||9||8|
|Harbin Institute of Technology||143||Qin, Jiang||17||57||19|
|Chinese Academy of Sciences||102||Yi, Jianqiang||18||42||28|
|Wright-Patterson Air Force Base||97||Kimmel, Roger||18||53||23|
|China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics||97||Liu, Chuanzhen||9||10||3|
|Air Force Engineering University, China||73||Bu, Xiang-Wei||21||247||14|
Seven of the top researchers identified in bold in Table 5 are also identified in descending order in Table 6 as top researchers overall.
Table 6: Top 10 Researchers Based on Scopus Publications and Citations
|Researcher||Affiliation||No. of Documents||No. of Citations||h-Index|
|Yan, Chongnian||Beihang University||36||97||10|
|Huang, Wei||National University of Defense Technology
– Academy of Military Medical Sciences
|Tang, Guojian||National University of Defense Technology
– Academy of Military Medical Sciences
|Boyd, Iain D.||University of Michigan, Ann Arbor||25||117||47|
|Candler, Graham V.||University of Minnesota Twin Cities||24||56||40|
|Zhou, Jun||Northwestern Polytechnical University||24||37||10|
|Bu, Xiang-Wei||Air Force Engineering University, China||21||247||14|
|Liu, Jun||Dalian University of Technology, China||20||87||18|
|Yan, Li||National University of Defense Technology
– Academy of Military Medical Sciences
|Kimmel, Roger||Spectral Energies, LLC
– Wright Patterson Air Force Base
3.2 WoS Search Results
WoS provides access to research literature linked to a rigorously selected core of journals, ensuring a unique combination of discovery through captured metadata and citation connections. The WoS Core Collection provides over one billion cited reference connections indexed from high-quality, peer-reviewed journals, books, and proceedings from 1900 to present.
WoS was the final database used by DSIAC to search for top global researchers and organizations in hypersonics. The top researchers and organizations identified via the WoS search are shown in Table 7. Using the term “hypersonic,” the WoS search was limited to conference articles and journals from 2016 to present.
Table 7: Top Researchers/Organizations in WoS
|Researcher||Affiliation||No. of Documents||No. of Citations|
|Huang, Wei||National University of Defense Technology||27||242|
|Yan, Chongnian||Beihang University||25||81|
|Bu, Xiang-Wei||Air Force Engineering University, China||24||215|
|Bao, Wen||Harbin Institute of Technology||23||100|
|Liu, Jun||· Beihang University
· Dalian University of Technology
· Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
|Chang, Juntao||Harbin Institute of Technology||19||126|
|Yan, Li||National University of Defense Technology||19||193|
|Yu, Daren||Harbin Institute of Technology||18||125|
|Zhou, Jun||· Northwestern Polytechnical University
· Air Force Engineering University, China
|Zong, Q||Tianjin University||17||61|
4.0 Search Results Analysis
There were two different metrics used to search top global researchers in hypersonics—the number of patents and the number of publications and citations. When the searches were compared, the following organizations appeared in the search results of each database:
- Beihang University, China.
- Northwestern Polytechnical University, China.
- Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China.
- National University of Defense Technology, China.
The following organizations appeared in the search results of at least two of the databases:
- China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center.
- Chinese Academy of Sciences.
- China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics.
- Harbin Institute of Technology, China.
- Air Force Engineering University, China.
Only one researcher, Jun Liu, appeared in all of our database search results. Affiliated with multiple organizations, he holds patents with the Academy of Military Sciences and authored publications with Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Dalian University of Technology, China. He has also coauthored multiple publications with Wei Huang of the National University of Defense Technology.
The following researchers appeared in the search results of at least two of the databases:
- Huang, Wei.
- Yan, Chongnian.
- Bu, Xiang-Wei.
- Yan, Li.
- Zhou, Jun.
Potential points of interest are as follows:
- Jun Liu and Li Yan were the coauthors on multiple publications with Wei Huang of the National University of Defense Technology.
- Three of the top 10 researchers were not affiliated with any of the top 10 organizations (Iain D. Boyd, Graham V. Candler, and Jun Liu).
- The Derwent search found that the following researchers identified in Table 5 hold multiple patents:
- Wei Huang—4 patents.
- Jun Liu—11 patents.
- Li Yan—6 patents.
 Elsevier. “Scopus. An Eye on Global Research: 5,000 Publishers. Over 71M Records and 23,700 Titles.”
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