Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Some More on the THE World University Rankings 2


I have calculated the mean scores for the indicator groups in the 2012-13 Times Higher education. world university rankings. The mean scores are for the 400 universities included in the published 2012-13 rankings are:

Teaching   41.67
International Outlook 52.35
Industry Income 50.74
Research 40.84
Citations 65.25

For Industry Income, N is 363 since 37 universities, mainly in the US, did not submit data. This might be a smart move if the universities realized that they were likely to receive a low score. N is 400 for the others.

There are considerable differences between the indicators which are probably due to Thomson Reuters' methodology. Although THE publishes data for 200 universities on its website and another 200 on an iPad/iPhone app there are in fact several hundred more universities that are not included in the published rankings but whose scores are used to calculate the overall mean from which scores for the ranked universities are derived.

A higher score on an indicator means a greater distance from all the institutions in the Thomson Reuters database.

The high scores for citations mean that there is a large gap between the top 400 and the lesser places outside the top 400.

I suspect that the low scores for teaching and research are due to the influence of the academic survey which contributes to both indicator clusters. We have already seen that after the top six, the curve for the survey is relatively flat.

The citations indicator already has a disproportionate influence contributing 30 % to the overall weighing. That 30 % is of course a maximum. Since universities on average are getting more for citations than the the  indicators, it has in practice a correspondingly greater weighting.

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