UNSW among Australia’s most influential thinkers

UNSW academics continue to shine as influential thought leaders on Australia’s largest and most widely read opinion and analysis website.


UNSW academics continue to shine as influential thought leaders on Australia’s largest and most widely read opinion and analysis website.

UNSW currently ranks second among Australian universities on The Conversation website, in total number of articles published in 2016 (437), and the total number of reader comments (15,967), according to the site's data.  

It ranks third in reads (9.6 million) across The Conversation and third-party news websites that republish its content, including IFLScience!, ABC Online, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and CNN. The majority of readers are from Australia (34%) and the United States (32%). 

UNSW’s most widely read articles are in Health and Medicine (3.2 million reads) and Science and Technology (3.1 million reads), followed by Environment and Energy, Business and Economy, and Politics and Society. 

Twenty UNSW academics have authored articles in 2016 that have attracted more than 100,000 reads, including two of the University’s 20 rising stars: climate scientist Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick and geographer Dr Hazel Easthope from the City Futures Research Centre.  

Associate Professor Darren Curnoe, who hosts the popular UNSW TV online science series 'How did we get here?’, wrote the most widely read UNSW article in 2016, Paying a heavy price for loving Neanderthals. It looked at how early humans interbred with (or “bonked” ­– his word) Neanderthals, and attracted more than 855,000 reads.

Dr Peter Gates from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre wrote the next most popular article, Does cannabis cause mental illness?, which had nearly 770,000 reads.

Rounding out the top three was Sugar may be as damaging to the brain as extreme stress or abuse, written by Professor Margaret Morris and Dr Jayanthi Maniam from UNSW Medicine. It had more than 686,000 reads.


Six UNSW writers made it into The Conversation Yearbook 2016

Six UNSW academics have also been included among “Australia’s Top Thinkers” by The Conversation in its 2016 yearbook. They are:

  • Scientia Professor Rob Brooks, an evolutionary biologist from UNSW Science and the academic lead of UNSW's Grand Challenges program, for his article: Could opposition to same-sex marriage be about the price of sex? (5,256 reads, 152 comments, 5 republishers)
  • Associate Professor of palaeontology Darren Curnoe, from UNSW Science, for the article: Our ancestors were carnivorous super-predators, so do we really have a choice about eating meat? (24,107 reads, 215 comments, 9 republishers)
  • Tim Harcourt, the J. W. Nevile Fellow in Economics from UNSW Business, for the article: Three reasons free trade has become a political football (2997 reads, 46 comments, 5 republishers).
  • Adjunct Professor Paul X. McCarthy, a computer scientist from UNSW Engineering, for the article: Open data on Australian companies could be the best response to tax avoidance (2537 reads, 13 comments, 5 republishers)
  • Professor Andy Baker, from the UNSW Connected Waters Initiative, for the article: The world’s biggest source of freshwater is beneath your feet (5207 reads, 44 comments, 5 republishers).
  • Doctoral candidate in economics Usman W. Chohan, from UNSW Canberra, for the article: Young, educated and underemployed: are we building a nation of PhD baristas? (48,837 reads, 140 comments, 7 republishers).