Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Shanghai Rankings Part 2

The Shanghai Rankings have had a reputation for reliability and consistency. The latest rankings have, however, undermined that reputation a little. There have been two methodological changes of which one, not counting Proceedings Papers in the Nature and Science and Publications indicators, may not be of any significance. The other is the use of a new list of Highly Cited Researchers prepared by Thomson Reuters covering citations between 2002 and 2012. In this year's rankings this was combined with the old list which had not been updated since 2004.

One result of this is that there have been some very dramatic changes in the scores for Highly Cited Researchers this year. University of California Santa Cruz's score has risen from 28.9 to 37.9, Melbourne's from 24 to 29.3 and China University of Science and Technology's from 7.2 to 24.5 while that of the Australian National University has fallen from 32.3 to 24.8 and Virginia Polytechnic Institute's from 22.9 to 11.4.

This has had a noticeable impact on total scores. Santa Cruz has risen from the 101-150 band to 93rd place, Melbourne from 54th to 44th and China University of Science and Technology from the 201 - 300 band to the 150-200 band. The Australian National University has fallen from 66th place to 74th and Indiana University at Bloomington has dropped from 85th place to the 101-150 band.

In the top 20, this year's ARWU is more volatile than the two previous editions but still not as much as any other international ranking. The top 20 universities in 2013 rose or fell an average of 0.65 places.

Ranking Average Place Change
 of Universities in the top 20 
ARWU 2013 -2014    0.65
ARWU 2012-2013 0.25
ARWU 2011 - 2012 0.15
Webometrics 2013-2014 4.25
Center for World University Ranking (Jeddah)
THE World Rankings 2012-2013 1.20
QS World Rankings 2012-2013 1.70

Looking at the top 100 universities, the ARWU is more volatile than last year's QS rankings with the average institution moving up or down 4.92 places.

RankingAverage Place Change
 of Universities in the top 100 
ARWU 2013 -2014   4.92
ARWU 2012-20131.66
ARWU 2011 - 20122.01
Webometrics 2013-201412.08
Center for World University Ranking (Jeddah)
THE World Rankings 2012-20135.36
QS World Rankings 2012-20133.97

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Shanghai Rankings (Academic Ranking of World Universities) 2014 Part 1


Center for World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong  University


Global. 500 institutions.


See ARWU site.

In contrast to the other indicators, the Highly Cited Researchers indicator has undergone substantial changes in recent years, partly as a result of changes by data provider Thomson Reuters. Originally, ARWU used the old list of highly cited researchers prepared by Thomson Reuters (TR), which was first published in 2001 and updated in 2004. Since them no names have been added although changes of affiliation submitted by researchers were recorded. 

Until 2011 when a researcher listed more than one institution as his or her affiliation then credit for the highly cited indicator would be equally divided. Following the recruitment of a large number of part time researchers by King Abdulaziz University, ARWU introduced a new policy of asking researchers how their time was divided. When there was no response, secondary affiliations were counted as 16%, which was the average time given by those who responded to the survey.

In 2013 TR announced that they were introducing a new list based on field-normalised citations over the period 2002-2012. However, problems with the preparation of the new list meant that it could not be used in the 2013 rankings. Instead, the Shanghai rankings repeated the 2012 scores.

During 2013, KAU recruited over 100 highly cited researchers who nominated the university as a secondary affiliation. That caused some comment by researchers and analysts. A paper by Lutz Bornmann and Johann Bauer concluded that to " counteract attempts at manipulation, ARWU should only consider primary institutions of highly cited researchers."

It seems that Shanghai has acted on this advice: "It is worth noting that, upon the suggestion of many institutions and researchers including some Highly Cited Researchers, only the primary affiliations of new Highly Cited Researchers are considered in the calculation of an institution’s HiCi score for the new list."

As a result, KAU has risen into the lower reaches of the 150-200 band on the basis of publications, some papers in Nature and Science and a modest number of primary affiliations among highly cited researchers. That is a respectable achievement but one that would have been much greater if the secondary affiliations had been included.

Perhaps Shanghai should also take note of the suggestion in a paper by Lawrence Cram and Domingo Docampo that  " [s]ignificant acrimony accompanies some published comparisons between ARWU and other rankings (Redden, 2013) driven in part by commercial positioning .  Given its status as an academic ranking , it may be prudent for ARWU to consider replacing its HiCi indicator with a measure that is nit sourced from a commercial provider if such a product can be found that satisfies the criteria (objective, open, independent ) used by ARWU."

Top Ten

Place University
1 Harvard
2 Stanford
4 University of California Berkeley
5 Cambridge
6 Princeton
7 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
8 Columbia
9= Chicago
9= Oxford

Countries With Universities in the Top 100

Country Number of Universities
United States    52
United Kingdom                                           8
Switzerland 5
Germany 4
France 4
Netherlands 4
Australia 4
Canada 4
Japan 3
Sweden 3
Belgium 2
Israel 2
Denmark 2
Norway 1
Finland 1
Russia 1

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Webometrics: Ranking Web of Universities 2nd 2014 Edition

The Webometrics rankings are based on web-derived data. They cover more than 22,000 institutions, far more than conventional rankings, and should always be consulted as a check on the plausibility of the others. They are, however, extremely volatile and that reduces their reliability considerably.

Cybermetrics Lab, CSIC, Madrid


Global. 22,000+ institutions.


From the Webometrics site.

The current composite indicator is now built as follows:
Visibility (50%)
IMPACT. The quality of the contents is evaluated through a "virtual referendum", counting all the external inlinks that the University webdomain receives from third parties. Those links are recognizing the institutioof conventinal prestige, the academic performance, the value of the information, and the usefulness of the services as introduced in the webpages according to the criteria of millions of web editors from all over the world. The link visibility data is collected from the two most important providers of this information:Majestic SEO and ahrefs. Both use their own crawlers, generating different databases that should be used jointly for filling gaps or correcting mistakes. The indicator is the product of square root of the number of backlinks and the number of domainsoriginating those backlinks, so it is not only important the link popularity but even more the link diversity. The maximum of the normalized results is the impact indicator.
Activity (50%)
PRESENCE (1/3). The total number of webpages hosted in the main webdomain (including all the subdomains and directories) of the university as indexed by the largest commercial search engine (Google). It counts every webpage, including all the formats recognized individually by Google, both static and dynamic pages and other rich files. It is not possible to have a strong presence without the contribution of everybody in the organization as the top contenders are already able to publish millions of webpages. Having additional domains or alternative central ones for foreign languages or marketing purposes penalizes in this indicator and it is also very confusing for external users.
OPENNESS (1/3). The global effort to set up institutional research repositories is explicitly recognized in this indicator that takes into account the number of rich files (pdf, doc, docx, ppt) published in dedicated websites according to the academic search engine Google Scholar. Both the total files Both the total records and those with correctly formed file names are considered (for example, the Adobe Acrobat files should end with the suffix .pdf). The objective is to consider recent publications that now are those published between 2008 and 2012 (new period).
EXCELLENCE (1/3). The academic papers published in high impact international journals are playing a very important role in the ranking of Universities. Using simply the total number of papers can be misleading, so we are restricting the indicator to only those excellent publications, i.e. the university scientific output being part of the 10% most cited papers in their respective scientific fields. Although this is a measure of high quality output of research institutions, the data provider Scimago groupsupplied non-zero values for more than 5200 universities (period 2003-2010). In future editions it is intended to match the counting periods between Scholar and Scimago sources.

Top Ten

1.    Harvard University
2.    MIT
3.    Stanford University
4.    Cornell University
5.    University of Michigan
6.    University of California Berkeley
7=   Columbia University
8=   University of Washington
9.    University of Minnesota
10.  University of Pennsylvania

Countries with Universities in the Top Hundred

USA                      66
Canada                  7
UK                          4  
Germany                3
China                      3
Japan                     2
Switzerland            2
Netherlands           1
Australia                1
Italy                         1
South Korea          1
Taiwan                   1 
Belgium                 1
Hong Kong            1
Brazil                      1 
Austria                   1
Czech Republic    1
Singapore             1        
Mexico                   1

Top Ranked in Region

USA:                             Harvard
Canada:                       Toronto
Latin America:             Sao Paulo
Caribbean                    University of the West Indes
Europe:                        Oxford
Africa:                           University of Cape Town
Asia:                             Seoul National University
South Asia                   IIT Bombay
Southeast Asia           National University of Singapore
Middle East:                Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Arab World:                 King Saud University
Oceania                       Melbourne

Noise Index
Average position change of universities in the top 20 in 2013:



Center for World University Rankings         --  0.90
Shanghai Rankings (ARWU): 2011-12      --  0.15
Shanghai Rankings (ARWU) 2012-13       --  0.25
THE WUR:  2012-13                                    --  1.20
QS  WUR    2012-13                                    --  1.70  

Average position change of universities in the top 100 in 2013



Center for World University Rankings               --  10.59 
 Shanghai Rankings (ARWU): 2011-12               --  2.01
 Shanghai Rankings   2012-13                            --  1.66
THE WUR:  2012-13                                            --   5.36
QS  WUR    2012-13                                            --   3.97