Research

The Smithsonian creates knowledge through high-impact research in its museums, National Zoo, research centers, and field stations. Thousands of scientists and scholars working across the Institution, and with colleagues around the world, address fundamental questions in the natural and physical sciences, history, art, and culture. Visit our research center page for more information.

2,395 Book, Book Chapter, and Journal Publications out of
2,564 Total Publications Calendar Year 2017
shelves with publications

A standard measure of research productivity is the total number of scholarly publications. The measure includes journal articles, books, book chapters, and other significant research publications authored by Smithsonian staff. Publications do not capture the full range of the Smithsonian’s scholarly output in history, art, and culture, where much of our scholarship is seen in exhibitions and exhibition catalogs rather than journals. Learn more about Smithsonian research here and search Smithsonian Profiles.

582 Proposals Fiscal Year 2018
$145M Grant and Contract Awards Fiscal Year 2018
Satellite

Every year, Smithsonian scholars apply or compete for additional support beyond federal appropriations from foundations, governmental agencies, private corporations, and individual donors. The number of research proposals submitted and dollar amount of research grant and contract awards are measures of research productivity and quality.  

1 Nobel Laureate * Fiscal Year 2018
19 Members of the National Academies Fiscal Year 2018
22 Active Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fiscal Year 2018
4 Members of the American Philosophical Society Fiscal Year 2018
National Academy of Sciences Meeting, Smithsonian Castle, 1874

The Nobel Prize is among the most prestigious awards in the world. Invited membership in national academies and societies is also a widely accepted mark of excellence and considered one of the highest honors that a scholar can receive. Membership in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the highest distinction, and generally awarded at the end of a career. In addition to these memberships, the Smithsonian has seven members of the American Antiquarian Society and 38 active Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, whose advancement of science or its application is scientifically or socially distinguished. (Note: an individual may belong to more than one academy or society.) Read more about recent accomplishments here.

* Smithsonian radio astronomer and physicist Robert W. Wilson is a 1978 Nobel laureate in physics.