Friday, January 15, 2016
Aussies not impressed with THE any more
Back in 2012 The Australian published a list of the most influential figures in Australian higher education. In 14th place was Phil Baty, the editor of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.
Recently, the newspaper came out with another influential list full of the usual bureaucrats and boosters plus the Australian dollar at number five. Then at number 10 was not a person, not even Times Higher Education, but "rankings". A step up for rankings but a demotion for THE.
To make things worse for THE, Leiden Ranking and the Shanghai Academic ranking of World Universities were designated the leaders.
Then we have a reference to "new and increasingly obscure league tables peddled by unreliable metrics merchants, with volatile methodologies triggering inexplicably spectacular rises and falls from grace."
But who are those new and increasingly obscure league tables? It can't be URAP, National Taiwan University Rankings, QS world rankings, or Scimago, because they are not new. The US News Best Global Universities and the Russian Round University Ranking are new but so far their methodology is not volatile. Webometrics can be a bit volatile sometimes but it is also not new. Maybe they are referring to the QS subject rankings.
Or could it be that The Australian is thinking of the THE World University Rankings? What happened last autumn to universities in France, Korea and Turkey was certainly a case of volatile methodology. But new? Maybe The Australian has decided that the methodology was changed so much that it constituted a new league table.
Posted by Richard Holmes at 3:28 PM