Wednesday, April 22, 2015

They'll be doing Gourmet Nights next

I have just received an invitation for the Dublin Young Universities Summit on the 29th of this month. It is remarkably restrained: 'prestigious' appears' only three times, 'exclusive' four times and 'distinguished" once.

"...EXCLUSIVE a prestigious networking dinner and world class speakers ... A Rankings masterclass with Phil Baty ..."

"We would be honoured if you would register to attend this prestigious event..."

"Distinguished speakers include..."

"In addition, the event will feature:
  • Prestigious networking dinner 
  • An exclusive rankings masterclass with Mr Phil Baty"
"Because of the summit’s exclusive nature, places are strictly limited..."

"Your ticket will include*:
  • Prestigious welcome dinner
  • An exclusive rankings masterclass with Mr Phil Baty, editor at large and rankings editor, THE
  • World-class speakers
  • 2 x Networking lunches
  • Scheduled transfers between the official hotel and the university venues
  • Closing networking drinks reception"

MENA universities and Google Scholar Results

For reference purposes only, here are the Google Scholar Results (all documents) taken on April 4th for all universities included in any of the Arab Region/MENA rankings produced by US News, QS or Times Higher Education. Time period was 2010-2014.

Rank University Country Google Scholar
1   Cairo University Egypt 19,100
2 King Saud University Saudi Arabia 17,200
3 King Abdulaziz University  Saudi Arabia 15,800
4   Ain Shams University   Egypt 15,500
5 American University of Beirut   Lebanon 12,700
6 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Saudi Arabia  11,000
7 Alexandria University Egypt 10,500
8 University of Jordan Jordan 9,700
9 Al Azhar University Egypt 9,480
10 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 9,180
11 American University in Cairo Egypt 9,080
12 Mansoura University Egypt 8,790
13 Zagazig University Egypt 8,410
14 Assiut University Egypt 7,600
15 Sultan Qaboos University Oman 7,410
16 Kuwait University Kuwait 7,040
17 University of Baghdad Iraq 6,960
18 University of Khartoum Sudan 5,910
19 Qatar University Qatar 5,430
20 Suez Canal University Egypt 5,340
21 Tanta University Egypt 5,030
22 University of Sharjah UAE 5,020
23 United Arab Emirates University UAE 4,690
24 Helwan University Egypt 4,200
25 King Khalid University Saudi Arabia 4,110
26 Yarmouk University Jordan 4,100
27 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan 4,040
28 Taif University Saudi Arabia 3,530
29 Minia University Egypt 3,500
30 Benha University Egypt 3,400
31 American University of Sharjah UAE 3,150
32 University of Tunis Tunisia 3,130
33 King Faisal University Saudi Arabia 3,090
34 University of Mosul Iraq 2,820
35= Qassim University Saudi Arabia 2,770
35= Taibah University Saudi Arabia 2,770
37 Hashemite University Jordan 2,650
38 Umm Al-Qura University Saudi Arabia 2,610
39 Université Abou Bekr Belkaid Tlemcen Algeria 2,370
40 Al Balqa' Applied University Jordan 2,330
41 University of Babylon Iraq 2,250
42 South Valley University Egypt 2,240
43 Lebanese American University Lebanon 2,170
44 Menoufia University Egypt 2,120
45 Damascus University Syria 2,060
46 Fayoum University Egypt 1,970
47 University of Bahrain Bahrain 1,940
48= Khalifa University UAE 1,890
48= Sohag University Egypt 1,890
50 Beni-Suef University Egypt 1,770
51 Jazan University Saudi Arabia 1,750
52 Universite de Sfax Tunis 1,740
53 Al Nahrain University Iraq 1,710
54 Zayed University UAE 1,690
55 University of Basrah Iraq 1,560
56 King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences Saudi Arabia 1,520
57 Masdar Institute of Science and Technology UAE 1,470
58 Université Mohammed V Agdal Morocco 1,450
59 Université d'Oran Algeria 1,370
60 University of Damman Saudi Arabia 1,300
61 Universite de Tunis El Manar Tunisia 1,270
62 German University in Cairo Egypt 1,210
63 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia 1,200
64 Universite des Sciences et da la Technologie Houari Boumediene Algeria 1,160
65 Sanaa University Yemen 1,140
66 Université Libanaise Lebanon 1,100
67 Arabian Gulf University Bahrain 1,030
68 Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi UAE 948
69 National Engineering School of Sfax Tunisia 872
70 Mutah University Jordan 826
71 Kafrelsheikh University Egypt 825
72 Université de Batna Algeria 818
73 Universite de Monastir Tunisia 757
74 Université de Carthage (7 de Novembre) Tunisia 754
75 Higher Colleges of Technology UAE 726
76 University of Balamand Lebanon 673
77 Beirut Arab University Lebanon 662
78 Abu Dhabi University UAE 627
79 Université Cadi Ayyad Marrakech Morocco 588
80 Arab Academy of Science Technology and Maritime Transport Egypt 585
81 Université Hassan II Mohammadia Morocco 559
82 Universite de Sousse Tunisia 531
83 Université Mentouri de Constantine Algeria 527
84 Université Abdelmalek Essaadi Morocco 509
85 University of Bejaia Jordan 508
86= Petra University Jordan 506
86= Université Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah Morocco 506
88 Prince Sultan University Saudi Arabia 469
89 Djillali Liabes University Algeria 464
90 Université Ferhat Abbas Setif Algeria 462
91 University of Dubai UAE 437
92 Université Mouloud Mammeri de Tizi Ouzo Algeria 427
93 Princess Sumaya University for Technology Jordan 417
94 Université de la Manouba Tunisia 412
95 Université Ibn Tofail Kénitra Morocco 403
96 American University in Dubai UAE 364
97 Al-Imam Mohamed Ibn Saud Islamic University Saudi Arabia 257
98 Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth Lebanon 246
99 Université de Gabes Tunisia 208
100 Université Mohammed Premier Oujda Morocco 193
101 École Nationale Polytechnique d'Alger Algeria 184
102 Ajman University of Science & Technology UAE 142
103 Texas A&M Qatar Qatar 111
104 UST  d'Oran Mohamed Boudiaf Algeria 107
105 Université Saad Dahlab Blida Algeria 70
106 Université Badji Mokhtar de Annaba Algeria 54

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

QS Subject Rankings out on 29th

QS have redesigned their subject ranking methodology and will release the revised results on April 29th. The modifications are:

  • reintroducing regional weightings in the academic and employer surveys

  • ·counting articles in all the subjects to which they are assigned

  • adjusting weightings usually to increase those for citations and h- index and reducing those     for the surveys

  • increasing  the minimum number of papers required for inclusion in the rankings

  • extending survey samples to 5 years.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Secrecy and Mystery: New Ranking Indicators

The South China Morning Post provides an explanation why some Chinese universities may not be doing well in the global rankings.

"If you are a student of science or engineering looking for a “thrilling” exchange programme in China, this may be the right place for you. The universities on the list below enjoy high reputations in China and they all accept overseas students, but they rarely publish papers in international journals due to the sensitivity of their research, so you may not easily find their names on most world university rankings. If you visit them, don’t be misled by the peaceful and friendly atmosphere on campus. The old professor riding a dusty bike with fatherly smile and silvery hair along your way to class could be chairing the development of China’s most deadly space weapons."

If you want to know the five most secret and mysterious universities in China, go here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ranking MENA Universities

Interest in the ranking of Arab and/or Middle Eastern and North African universities seems to be growing. There is definitely  a feeling  in many countries that higher education needs drastic reform and should open up to objective evaluation. Of course, there is also a realisation that rankings can be helpful for marketing and career advancement.

But there are problems. Most Arab universities do not have sufficient staff and organisation  to provide adequate data about  faculty and student numbers, let alone about things like employment of graduates or sources of income. Surveys are a possible source of information. for teaching quality but it is unlikely that at present they could produce reliable and accurate information.

The collection of data about research has probably reached the point where reasonable research rankings can be created for the Arab world and also for regions like South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Unfortunately, the majority of Arab or Middle Eastern universities  produce very little significant research so such research based rankings would probably be of relevance to about fifty institutions.

See Higher Education Strategy Associates for more discussion.

The US News has produced a variation on its new Best Global Universities rankings. This is based on research and citations data from the Scopus database. As a ranking of universities according to research output and impact, it looks quite plausible.

The top five universities are:

1. King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
2. King Abdulaziz University,Saudi Arabia
3. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia
4. Cairo University, Egypt
5. American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

QS has produced rankings that are "a pilot version of the ranking that has been developed to reflect priorities and challenges for universities in the region."

The top five are:

1. King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia
2. American University of Beirut, Lebanon
3. King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
4. American University of Cairo, Egypt
5. King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia.

This is a bit different from the US News rankings but the QS table does include indicators like faculty student ration, web impact and international faculty and students.

Times Higher Education has produced what it calls a "snapshot", which is in fact only one indicator, citations per paper normalised by field and year. The top five are:

1.  Texas A&M University Qatar
2.  Lebanese American University
3.  King Abdulaziz University,Saudi Arabia
4.  Qatar University
5.  American University in Beirut.

Texas A&M Qatar is a single subject branch campus which does not have a doctoral programme. It is difficult to believe that it will actually be in the full rankings that are scheduled for next year. THE's top thirty does not include Cairo University or King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

As a simple check on the validity of these three rankings I have calculated their correlation with the results from a search of Google Scholar on the 4th of April. I have also included the scores for "publications" provided by THE next to their "snapshot" indicator.

There is a very strong correlation between the Google Scholar and the THE publication scores, a somewhat smaller correlation with the US News scores, which combine publication and citation data and a moderate correlation with the QS scores, which include web impact, internationalisation and institutional data.

There is no significant correlation with the THE citation indicator. In fact, this "snapshot" correlates with nothing, not even THE's own publication data.


Google Scholar USN QS THE "snapshot" THE publications
Google Scholar
.757**       .000
.570**            .000
USN .757**

QS 570**

THE snapshot .075

THE publications .852**

A Fictional, but Honest, College Rejection Letter

By Mimi Evans

Posted at Timothy MacSweeney's Blog

"Dear Applicant,

The Admissions Committee has carefully considered your application and we regret to inform you that we will not be able to offer you admission in the entering class of 2015, or a position on one of our alternate lists. The applicant pool this year was particularly strong, and by that I mean the Admissions Committee once again sent candidates like you multiple enticing pamphlets encouraging you to apply, knowing full well we had no intention of accepting you.

However, you will be pleased to know that you have contributed to our declining admissions rate, which has helped our university appear exclusive. This allows us to attract our real candidates: upper-class kids and certified geniuses who will glean no new information from our courses or faculty, whose parents can incentivize us with a new swimming pool or lacrosse stadium."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015