The most discussed and shared scientific research of 2019

December 17, 2019

Climate crisis, artificial intelligence, and vaccines top the list of 2019’s most discussed research

From the increasing use of artificial intelligence to the climate emergency facing us all, many of this year’s most polarizing issues feature in the Altmetric Top 100, released today.

The annual Altmetric Top 100 highlights research published in 2019 that has generated significant international online attention and discussion – from patents and public policy documents to mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia, and social media platforms.

The top 10 articles of 2019 are:

  1. Few-Shot Adversarial Learning of Realistic Neural Talking Head Models (Arxiv, May 2019)
  2. Scientists rise up against statistical significance (Nature, March 2019)
  3. Measles, Mumps, Rubella Vaccination and Autism (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2019)
  4. World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency (BioScience, November 2019)
  5. A Style-Based Generator Architecture for Generative Adversarial Networks (Arxiv, December 2018)
  6. Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior (Science, August 2019)
  7. New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding (Nature Communications, October 2019)
  8. Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial (British Medical Journal, December 2018)
  9. The global tree restoration potential (Science, July 2019)
  10. Civic honesty around the globe (Science, July 2019)

The Altmetric Top 100 typically features research from a variety of disciplines, written by authors from all corners of the globe.

This year’s Top 100 articles touch on many topics, with a particular focus on the harsh realities of the world climate emergency, the public health imperative for vaccinations, and developments in artificial intelligence.

Other diverse subjects highlighted include the prorogation of Parliament, fake news on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, mortality and survival in Game of Thrones, how Brexit will affect health services in the UK, and racial bias in an algorithm used to manage the health of populations.

Egor Zakharov and Victor Lempitsky are two of the authors of the most discussed academic paper of this year, which looks at creating systems that can synthesize realistic video-sequences of speech and expressions that mimic a particular individual.

Zakharov said: “Our paper is inspired by the need to develop better telepresence solutions for augmented and virtual reality. The important component of telepresence applications is a realistic simulation of a person's appearance, which we try to perfect with the power of deep learning.”

Lempitsky added: “Our technology can learn photorealistic head avatars from a handful of images of a person, using a new deep learning model trained on a large dataset of videos of celebrities."

The paper is the most widely shared in the Altmetric Top 100’s seven-year history.

Catherine Williams, COO, Altmetric, said: “It’s fascinating to see the trends that shape the Top 100 list each year. In 2019, it’s clear that our current climate emergency and political polarization are a matter of huge public concern and debate. This list demonstrates the critical role that research plays in those conversations.”

This year’s list features works published in 43 different journals, preprint servers, and government websites. The Harvard University authors appeared most often in the list (11 papers), while the journal Nature featured more than any other (12 times).

View the full list at

About Altmetric
Altmetric’s mission is to track and analyze the online activity around scholarly literature. We collate what people are saying about published research outputs in scholarly and non-scholarly forums like the mainstream media, policy documents, social networks, and blogs to provide a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work. Altmetric works with some of the biggest publishers, funders, and institutions around the world to deliver this data in an accessible and reliable format. Altmetric is supported by Digital Science. Find out more at and follow us on Twitter @altmetric.

About Digital Science
Digital Science is a technology company working to make research more efficient. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open and effective. Our portfolio includes admired brands including Altmetric, Anywhere Access, CC Technology, Dimensions, Figshare, Gigantum, ReadCube, Symplectic, IFI Claims, GRID, Overleaf, Labguru, BioRAFT, Ripeta, TetraScience, Transcriptic and Writefull. We believe that together, we can help researchers make a difference. Visit and follow @digitalsci on Twitter.

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