Zheng “Phil” Xiang
Zheng “Phil” Xiang

Zheng “Phil” Xiang, associate professor in the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, is among the most highly cited researchers in the world for 2019, according to a list released by the Web of Science Group. Xiang’s research has primarily focused on the impact of information technology on travel behavior and its strategic implications on the hospitality and tourism industry.

“While we don't work for these honors, it obviously makes you very happy when your work gets this kind of recognition,” said Xiang. “I would like to thank my collaborators who have contributed to some of the papers we worked on together. I had the privilege to work with some of the most brilliant minds in our field. This is a recognition of their contribution, too.”

“The Highly Cited Researchers list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that contributes disproportionately to extending the frontiers of knowledge,” said David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information. “These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.”

Approximately 6,200 researchers – including 23 Nobel laureates – from nearly 60 nations were named to the list. For his cross-field performance, which recognizes researchers with substantial influence in several fields, Xiang is listed along with two other Hokies: Walid Saad and Wenjing Lou, both professors in the College of Engineering.

“I consider myself a fairly ‘focused’ researcher,” explained Xiang

“I tend to write about topics that are truly interesting to me, not just for the sake of publication. I guess passion is a good ingredient for scientific inquiry.”

He continued, “While I primarily write for the field of tourism and hospitality, I do keep a larger audience in mind while working on some of the problems. Some of the topics might have been picked up by researchers in other domains, and I guess that's why I am designated as a ‘cross-field’ researcher.”

Web of Science Group, a Clarivate Analytics company, organizes the world’s research information to enable academia, corporations, publishers, and governments to accelerate the pace of research. It is powered by Web of Science — the world’s largest publisher-neutral citation index and research intelligence platform.

The full 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found here, and the methodology can be found here.

– Written by Jeremy Norman