Monday, March 26, 2012

The University Challenge Rankings

The  quiz show, University Challenge, provides a plausible supplement to the established British league tables. If we award 2 points for winning and one for being runner up (I confess this is from Wikipedia) then we get this ranking:

1.      Oxford                                                             39
2.      Cambridge                                                       21
3.      Manchester                                                        8
4=.    Imperial College London                                  5
4=.    Open University                                                5
6=.    Durham                                                             4
6=.    Sussex                                                               4
8=.    St. Andrews                                                      3
8=.    Birkbeck College, University of London         3
10=.  Bradford                                                            2
10=.  Dundee                                                              2
10=.  Keele                                                                 2
10=.  Leicester                                                            2
10=.  Belfast                                                               2
10=.  Warwick                                                            2   
16 =  Lancaster                                                           2
16=.  LSE                                                                   1
16=.  Cranfield                                                           1
16=.  Sheffield                                                            1
16=.  York                                                                   1

Bristol, Edinburgh and University College are not there at all and LSE does not perform very well.

The show inspired an Indian version and in one memorable "cup winners' cup" final Sardar Patel College of Engineering beat Gonville and Caius, Cambridge.

Apologies for the weird spacing. I am looking up how to do tables in blogspot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Comments on the THE Reputation Rankings

 From Kris Olds at GlobalHigherEd

The 2012 Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings were released at 00.01 on 15 March by Times Higher Education via its website. It was intensely promoted via Twitter by the ‘Energizer Bunny’ of rankings, Phil Baty, and will be circulated in hard copy format to the magazine’s subscribers. As someone who thinks there are more cons than pros related to the rankings phenomenon, I could not resist examining the outcome, of course! See below and to the right for a screen grab of the Top 20, with Harvard demolishing the others in the reputation standings.

I do have to give Phil Baty and his colleagues at Times Higher Education and Thomson Reuters credit for enhancing the reputation rankings methodology. Each year their methodology gets better and better.

From Alex Usher at Higher Education Strategy Associates

There actually is a respectable argument to be made for polling academics about “best” universities. Gero Federkeil of the Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung in Gütersloh noted a few years ago that if you ask professors which institution in their country is “the best” in their field of study, you get a .8 correlation with scholarly publication output. Why bother with tedious mucking around with bibliometrics when a survey can get you the same thing?

Two reasons, actually. One is that there’s no evidence this effect carries over to the international arena (could you name the best Chinese university in your discipline?) and second is that there’s no evidence it carries over beyond an academic’s field of study (could you name the best Canadian university for mechanical engineering?).

So, while the Times makes a big deal about having a globally-balanced sample frame of academics (and of having translated the instrument into nine languages), the fact that it doesn’t bother to tell us who actually answered the questionnaire is a problem. Does the fact that McGill and UBC do better on this survey than on more quantitatively-oriented research measures have to do with abnormally high participation rates among Canadian academics? Does the fact that Waterloo fell out of the top 100 have to do with the fact that fewer computer scientists, engineers and mathematicians responded this year? In neither case can we know for sure.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The THE Reputation Rankings

Times Higher Education has produced its third reputation ranking based on a survey of researchers published in ISI indexed journals. The top ten are:

1.  Harvard
2.  MIT
3.  Cambridge
4.  Stanford
5.  UC Berkeley
6.  Oxford
7.  Princeton
8.  Tokyo
9.  UCLA
10. Yale

This does not look all that dissimilar to the academic survey indicator in the  2011 QS World University Rankings. The top ten there is as follows:

1.  Harvard
2.  Cambridge
3.  Oxford
4.  UC Berkeley
5.  Stanford
6.  MIT
7.  Tokyo
8.  UCLA
9. Princeton
10. Yale

Once we step outside the top ten there are some differences. The National University of Singapore is 23rd in these rankings but 11th in the QS academic survey, possibly because QS still has respondents on its list from the time when it used World scientific, a Singapore based publishing company.

The Middle East Technical University in Ankara is in the top 100 (In the QS academic survey it is not even in the top 300), sharing the 90-100 band with Ecole Polytechnique, Bristol and Rutgers. At first glance this seems surprising since its research output is exceeded by other universities in the Middle East. But the technical excellence of its University Ranking by Academic Performance suggests that its research might be of a high quality.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Law School Rankings

Anyone interested in the current arguments about American law school rankings might visit the blog of Lawyers against the Law School Scam.
University Ranking in Pakistan

University World News has an article on the ranking of Pakistani universities by the country's Higher Education Commission (HEC). According to Ameen Amjad Khan:

According to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) ranking, Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University tops 136 public and private sector institutions, followed by the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, with Karachi’s Agha Khan University in third place.

Academics from the University of Karachi and the University of Peshawar have rejected the ranking, which does not place either institution in the top 10.

They have accused the HEC of tampering with the standard formula to favour some institutions and have demanded that their vice-chancellors formally convey their disapproval to HEC bosses.

Faculty members of Hyderabad’s Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences have even warned that they will take the matter to the court if the ranking is not revoked. They said in a statement on 29 February: “The HEC announced the rankings in haste and caused chaos in both public and private higher education institutions.”

It seems that the rankings were based on a modified of the QS World University Rankings. Among the modifications were the introduction of indicators based on the number of journals published and the number of grants from the HEC. 
International Patent Filing

The World International Property Organization has issued a report on the filing of patents. The top university is the University of California followed by MIT, University of Texas, Johns Hopkins and the Korea Institute of Advanced Technology.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

O, My Felony is Rank

The Social Science  Research Network has just produced a paper by Morgan Cloud and George Shepherd, 'Law Deans in Jail'. Notice the absence of a question mark. Here is the abstract:

A most unlikely collection of suspects - law schools, their deans, U.S. News
& World Report and its employees - may have committed felonies by publishing
false information as part of U.S. News' ranking of law schools. The possible
federal felonies include mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and
making false statements. Employees of law schools and U.S. News who
committed these crimes can be punished as individuals, and under federal law
the schools and U.S. News would likely be criminally liable for their agents'
crimes. Some law schools and their deans submitted false information about the
schools' expenditures and their students' undergraduate grades and LSAT
scores. Others submitted information that may have been literally true but was
misleading. Examples include misleading statistics about recent graduates'
employment rates and students' undergraduate grades and LSAT scores. U.S.
News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and
sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's
accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false
and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings
errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools
confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News
marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with
fundamental methodological errors.

It is unlikely that we will ever see law school deans in jail. It seems that it would be necessary to show that there is a connection between the submission or publication (or failure to retract publication) of false or misleading information and monetary gain and that might be rather difficult to prove.

Also, the authors of the paper are from Emory University, a middling institution. If it ever did come to criminal proceedings you can bet that the big law schools would be lined up behind the rankings.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Best Student Cities

QS has just announced its Best Student Cities ranking. The criteria are performance in the QS World university rankings, student mix, quality of living, employer activity and affordability.

To be included a city must have a population of at least 250,000 and at least two institutions in the QS rankings That explains why Oxford and Cambridge are not on the list but Cairo and Santiago are. 
The top five are:

1.  Paris
2.  London
3.  Boston
4.  Melbourne
5.  Vienna