Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nature Index: Is This the Future of Science?


The Nature Index ranks countries and institutions according to their publications in the most highly reputed scientific journals. It is  a reliable guide to performance at the highest levels of research.
Here are the academic institutions in the current top 100 that have risen or fallen by ten per cent or more in the latest edition. The indicator is adjusted fractional count 2016-2017.

The 2018 world  rank is on the left. The percentage increase or decrease is on the right.

I think I see a few patterns here.

Rising Institutions

14.  National Institutes of Health, USA   10.0%
20.  Kyoto University  15.1%
31.  University of Chinese Academy of Sciences 64.8%
37.  National University of Singapore  10.5%
41.  Indian Institutes of Technology (all of them)  28%
44.  Fudan University 11.1%
61.  Texas A and M University  23.7%
62.  Shanghai Jiao Tong University 30.4%
68.  Wuhan University 31.3%
69.  University of Edinburgh 11.5%
72   University of Bristol  25.3%
74.  University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 20.5%
76.  Sun Yat-sen University, China 26.6%
81.  Xiamen University 18.7%
86.  University of Utah   22.2%
95.  Sichuan University  24%
98.  Wurzburg Universit 19.7

Falling Institutions

11.  University of Oxford -15.2%
24.  Yale University  -13.6%
38.  University of Illinois Urbana Champagne  -12%
43.  EPF Lausanne -11.2%
47.  University of Minnesota   -15.5%
55.  Leibniz Association, Germany  -10%
57.  Duke University -15.3%
82.  Mcgill University -15.9%
84.  Tohoku University -18.3%
88.  Rutgers University -17.3%
89.  Technical University Munich  -11.6%
91,  University of Zurich   -11.8%
93.  NASA, USA  -16.5%







Monday, June 18, 2018

Responses to the QS Academic Survey


QS has published the percentage of responses to this year's academic survey (which is about the best universities for research) from different countries. 

The table below combines the percentages in the surveys of 2007, 2013 and 2018 (for the "2019" rankings) ranked by the percentages for 2013. The data for 2009 and 2013 are from a previous post.

There are some interesting things here. The UK has more responses than France and Germany combined. 

There are more responses from Malaysia than from China.

There are more responses from Kazakhstan than from India.

There are almost as many responses from Australia, Canada and New Zealand as there are from the USA.

The number of responses from these countries has risen by a percentage point or more since 2013: Russia, Malaysia, Iraq, Kazakhstan.

The number of responses from these countries has fallen by a percentage point or more since 2013: USA, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Hungary. 


Table: Percentage of responses to QS academic survey.


country
2007
2013
2018
USA
10.0
17.4
8.5
UK
5.6
6.5
7.0
Brazil
1.1
6.3
3.3
Italy
3.3
4.7
3.5
Germany
3.0
3.8
2.5
Canada
4.0
3.4
3.3
Australia
3.5
3.2
4.0
France
2.9
2.4
2.0
Japan
1.9
2.9
3.5
Spain
2.3
2.7
3.1
Mexico
0.8
2.6
2.3
Hungary
--
2.0
0.9
Russia
0.7
1.7
4.0
India
3.5
1.7
2.6
Chile
--
1.7
2.0
Ireland
1.5
1.6
0.9
Malaysia
3.2
1.5
4.6
Belgium
2.6
1.4
0.7
Hong Kong
1.9
1.4
1.5
Taiwan
0.7
1.3
2.0
Netherlands
0.6
1.2
0.9
New Zealand
4.1
1.2
1.0
Singapore
2.5
1.2
0.8
China
1.6
1.1
1.8
Portugal
0.9
1.1
1.0
Colombia
--
1.1
1.6
Argentina
0.7
1.0
0.8
South Africa
0.7
1.0
0.8
Denmark
1.2
0.9
0.5
Sweden
1.7
0.9
0.8
Switzerland
1.5
0.8
0.7
Austria
1.3
0.8
0.5
Turkey
1.1
0.7
0.8
Indonesia
1.2
0.5
0.9
Philippines
1.8
0.3
0.5
Iraq
--
0.2
1.4
Kazakhstan
--
0.9
3.0
South Korea
?
?
4.0










Monday, June 04, 2018

Ranking rankings: Crass materialism

As the number and scope of university rankings increase it is time to start thinking about how to rank the rankers.

Indicators for global rankings might include number of universities ranked (Webometrics in 1st place), number of indicators (Round University Ranking), bias, and stability.

There could also be an indicator for crass materialism. Here is a candidate for first place. CNBC quotes a report from Wealth-X (supposedly downloadable, good luck) and lists the top ten universities, all in the USA, for billionaires. Apparently, the ranking also includes universities outside the US.

1.  Harvard
2.  Stanford
3.  Pennsylvania
4.  Columbia
5.  MIT
6.  Cornell
7.  Yale
8= Southern California
8= Chicago
10 Michigan.







Thursday, May 31, 2018

Where did the top data scientists study?


The website efinancialcareers has a list of the top twenty data scientists in finance and banking. This looks like a subjective list and another writer might come up with a different set of experts. Even so it is quite interesting.

Their degrees are mainly in things like engineering, computer science and maths. There is only one each in business, economics and finance.

The institutions where they studied are:
Stanford (three)
University College London (three)
Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble
Oxford
Leonard Stern School of Business, New York University
University of Mexico
Universite Paris Dauphine
Ecole Polytechnique
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
California State University
Indian Institute of Science
Johns Hopkins University
Institute of Management Development and Research, India
University of Illinois
University of Pittsburgh
Indian Institute of Technology.

Harvard, MIT and Cambridge are absent but there are three Indian Institutes,  three French schools and some non-Ivy US places like RPI and the Universities of Pittsburgh and Illinois.





Why are US universities doing so well in the THE reputation rankings?

For the last couple of years the higher education media has tried to present any blip in the fortunes of UK universities as one of the malign effects of Brexit, whose toxic rays are unlimited by space, time or logic. Similarly, if anything unpleasant happens to US institutions, it is often linked to the evil spell of the great orange devil, who is scaring away international students, preventing the recruitment of the scientific elites of the world, or even being insufficiently credulous of the latest settled science.

So what is the explanation for the remarkable renaissance of US higher education apparently revealed by the THE reputation survey published today?

Is Trump working his magic to make American colleges great again?

UCLA is up four places, Carnegie Mellon seven, Cornell six, University of Washington six, Pennsylvania three. In contrast, several European and Asian institutions have fallen, University College London and the University of Kyoto by two places, Munich by seven, and Moscow State University by three.

In the previous post I noted that this year's survey had seen an increased response from engineering and computer science and a reduced one from the social sciences and the arts and humanities. As expected, LSE has tumbled five places and Oxford has fallen one place. Surprisingly, Caltech has fallen as well.

Some schools that are strong in engineering, such as Nanyang Technological University and Georgia Institute of Technology, have done well but I do not know if that is a full explanation for  the success of US universities.

I suspect that US administrators have learned that influencing reputation is easier than maintaining scientific and intellectual standards and that a gap is emerging between perceptions and actual achievements.

It will be interesting to see if these results are confirmed by the reputation indicators included in the QS, Best Global Universities, and the Round University Rankings


Sunday, May 27, 2018

The THE reputation rankings

THE have just published details of their reputation rankings which will be published on May 30th, just ahead, no doubt coincidentally, of the QS World University Rankings.

The number of responses has gone down a bit, from 10,566 last year to 10,162, possibly reflecting growing survey fatigue among academics.

In surveys of this kind the distribution of responses is crucial. The more responses from engineers the better for universities in Asia. The more from scholars in the humanities the better for  Western Europe. I have noted in a previous blog that the fortunes of Oxford in this ranking are tied to the percentage of responses from the arts and humanities.

This year there have been modest or small reductions in the percentage of responses from the clinical and health sciences, the life sciences, the social sciences, education and psychology and  large ones for business and economics and the arts and humanities.

The number of responses in engineering and computer science has increased considerably.

It is likely that this year places like Caltech and Nanyang Technological University will do better while Oxford and LSE will suffer. It will be interesting to see if THE claim that this is all the fault of Brexit, an anti-feminist reaction to Oxford's appointment of a female vice-chancellor or government Scrooges turning off the funding tap.

         

2017  %
2018  %
Physical science
14.6
15.6
Clinical and health
14.5
13.2
Life sciences
13.3
12.8
Business and economics
13.1
9
engineering
12.7
18.1
Arts and humanities
12.5
7.5
Social sciences
8.9
7.6
Computer science
4.2
10.4
Education
2.6
2.5
Psychology
2.6
2.3
Law
0.9
1.0



North America
22
22
Asia Pacific
33
32
Western Europe
25
26
Eastern Europe
11
11
Latin America
5
5
Middle East
3
3
Africa
2
2