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Liverpool John Moores University world leader in space science research

According to a recent analysis of Essential Science Indicators, Liverpool John Moores university's Astrophysics Research Institute (ARI) is now in the top 1% of institutions in the field of space science research.

This impressive ranking is based on the number of times ARI research papers are cited by other scientists. Over the last decade, the ARI's 10 most-cited papers have received over 2,000 citations, an outstanding number for this area of science. Overall, 481 papers were considered by Essential Science Indicators, receiving a total of 8,698 citations to date.

Professor Chris Collins, Director of the ARI, said: "This is an amazing achievement, particularly when you consider that our citation ranking is based on the total number of citations and we're up against some of the biggest astronomy research groups in the world. It shows just what a small but dedicated team of researchers can achieve if they are working to clear structured priorities."

The most-cited ARI paper is 'The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: Spectra and Redshifts', which has received 414 citations to date, and has had a considerable impact on observational cosmology and astrophysics. The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey was carried out using the 2-degree field (2dF) instrument on the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Siding Springs Australia, and provides a unique astronomical map, charting the positions in space of nearly 250,000 galaxies.

Professor Collins, who is a co-author of the paper, explains why the impact is so high:

"In this kind of survey work you have to be absolutely meticulous at hunting down sources of error and bias that might otherwise be attributed wrongly to intrinsic evolutionary effects. That's why this paper has proved so fundamental. It describes all the technical and statistical aspects of the survey, enabling us to correctly interpret the properties and distribution of galaxies in other papers, which also contribute to LJMU's high world-wide citation ranking."

Professor Collins continues:

"Surveys like this one have done a great job in charting galaxy distribution to unprecedented depths. However, even this landmark project didn't really probe much beyond the cosmic doorstep.

"Over the next decade we hope to carry out multi wavelength studies of galaxies close to 10 billion light years from Earth. This is about three quarters of the way to the Big Bang itself. Such data will help astronomers solve vexing questions such as how structure forms and the nature of dark matter and dark energy."

Shonagh Wilkie | alfa
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