Archives of Scientific Psychology

This dataset is made available in connection to an article in Archives of Scientific Psychology, the first open-access, open-methods journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). Archiving and dissemination of this research is part of APA's commitment to collaborative data sharing.

An Incomplete List of Eminent Psychologists in the Modern Era (ICPSR 35059)

Principal Investigator(s): Diener, Ed, University of Illinois


We systematically identified eminent psychologists, first using six sources to create an initial list of 348 eminent psychologists, and then using three criteria (citation metrics, textbook page coverage, and major awards) to select the most highly recognized psychologists. The rankings we produced corresponded highly with other indicators of eminence, and the top 200 are reported in the article. We also identified individuals who scored very high across all three indicators, as well as scientists who scored high when only two indicators were used. Individuals such as Daniel Kahneman and Albert Bandura ranked very high on the list of modern eminent psychologists. We found that the citation rate of the most eminent psychologists is growing at extremely high rates. A few high-prestige psychology departments heavily contributed to the doctoral education of a large number of the eminent psychologists. The most eminent researchers published an extremely large number of publications over many years; their renown rarely rested on one or two classics alone. High eminence was rarely achieved before age 50, and most of the eminent psychologists worked until late in their lives. Women are slowly gaining in eminence, but still lag substantially behind compared to their growing presence in scientific psychology. The numbers for ethnic minorities are disturbingly low, and are a major concern for the field. Highly eminent psychologists come from many areas of psychology, not just from a few elite areas.

Access Notes

  • This dataset is part of ICPSR's Archives of Scientific Psychology journal database. Users should contact the Editorial Office at the American Psychological Association for information on requesting data access.


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Study Description


Diener, Ed. An Incomplete List of Eminent Psychologists in the Modern Era. ICPSR35059-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-03-26.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    psychologists

Time Period:   

  • 1945--2013

Date of Collection:   

  • 2012-11--2013-08

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Universe:    academic psychologists

Data Collection Notes:

Data for this collection (in SPSS format) are contained in a zipped package.


Sample:    We relied on six sources to initially identify eminent psychologists. From this list of 348 individuals we used citation metrics, major awards, and coverage in introductory textbooks to rank the group in terms of eminence.


Original ICPSR Release:   2014-03-26


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