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Three USF Sarasota-Manatee campus professors among world’s top researchers

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 10, 2020)– Three professors from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus – Faizan Ali, Thomas Becker and James Unnever – have been included in a database of the top 160,000 scientists worldwide, placing them among the elite in their fields across all disciplines.

The database, created by researchers at Stanford University, assessed scientists based on their research citations.

Based on 2019 citations alone, Ali ranked in the top 31 percent of researchers worldwide in the field of “Sport, Leisure and Tourism” and among the top 19 percent of scientists in the dataset; Becker ranked in the top 1.25 percent in “Business and Management” globally and the top 11.6 percent of ranked scientists; and Unnever ranked in the top 1.5 percent among “Criminology” researchers worldwide and among the top 35.2 percent of ranked scientists.

Additionally, a second “career-based” analysis ranked Becker in the top 1.89 percent among Business and Management researchers globally based on research citations from 1996 through 2019 and in the top 47 percent of scientists within the dataset.

An article about the database is included in the journal “PLoS Biology.”

The top-cited researchers were chosen from among approximately 7 million worldwide who have published at least five papers in their career.

More than 120 USF faculty members from campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee are included in the database.

The researchers awarded composite scores to the scientists based on six citation metrics. More weight was given to the number of times a scientist was listed as the single, lead author, or last author of a cited research paper. The scientists were classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 subfields.

“It was a pleasant surprise to see my name in the list with some of the finest researchers in my discipline,” Ali said. “I am also truly honored to be among some of the brilliant researchers at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. I thank the campus leadership, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Dean Pat Moreo and my mentor, Professor Cihan Cobanoglu, for their support.”

Becker and Unnever said they were pleased as well to be included in the ranking.

“I’m honored to be among the many fine researchers at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus,” said Becker, who joined the university in September 2014. “Many thanks to Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and Campus Dean Jean Kabongo for their enthusiastic support of scholarship on this campus.”

Unnever, a renowned criminologist and one of the longest serving professors at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus after joining the faculty in 2011, said, “It was very gratifying when I was informed that I have had a measurable impact on the field of Criminology.

“I began my career with the hope of leaving a legacy behind that includes broadening the field’s perspective on race-related issues,” Unnever said. “I could not have created this body of publications without the brilliant contributions of all of my co-authors. This was truly a collective enterprise.”


Faizan Ali

Faizan Ali

Faizan Ali is an assistant professor and graduate coordinator in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Muma College of Business.

His research focuses on customer experience, service performance and quality, customer satisfaction and behavior, and emerging research methods. Ali has authored more than 100 international peer-reviewed articles and conference papers, and he currently serves as coordinating editor of the “International Journal of Hospitality Management” and assistant editor of the “International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management” and the “Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.”

His upcoming articles explore transhumanism within the tourism industry and the impact of consumer attitudes toward service robots in hospitality. Ali earned a doctorate in marketing with a dissertation on customer experience in the hospitality industry from the International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, in 2015.

Thomas Becker

Thomas Becker

Thomas E. Becker is a professor of management in the Muma College of Business.

He is a fellow of both the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the Association for Psychological Science, and he previously served as interim dean of the College of Business at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Becker’s research focuses on organizational psychology.

He has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, book reviews and other items.

His current research includes a focus on the resilience of entrepreneurs and the resilience and quality of life of U.S. veterans.

Becker earned a doctorate in 1990 from The Ohio State University.

James Unnever

James Unnever

James D. Unnever is a criminology professor in the Department of Criminology in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

He has written three books, contributed nine book chapters, authored or co-authored close to 60 articles and presented at more than 60 conferences in an academic career that began in 1980.

Unnever’s research examines the relationships among race, racism and crime. His latest work focuses on whether racial and ethnic intolerance predicts punitive attitudes cross-nationally, factors related to whether the public wants to “get tough” on corporate crime, and the relationship between perceived racial discrimination and delinquency.

Unnever earned a doctorate in sociology from Duke University in 1980.

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