Saturday, February 18, 2017

Searching for the Gold Standard: The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2010-2014

Now available at the Asian Journal of University Education. The paper has, of course, already been outdated by subsequent developments in the world of university rankings


This paper analyses the global university rankings introduced by Times Higher Education (THE) in partnership with Thomson Reuters in 2010 after the magazine ended its association with its former data provider Quacquarelli Symonds. The distinctive features of the new rankings included a new procedure for determining the choice and weighting of the various indicators, new criteria for inclusion in and exclusion from the rankings, a revised academic reputation survey, the introduction of an indicator that attempted to measure innovation, the addition of a third measure of internationalization, the use of several indicators related to teaching, the bundling of indicators into groups, and most significantly, the employment of a very distinctive measure of research impact with an unprecedentedly large weighting. The rankings met with little enthusiasm in 2010 but by 2014 were regarded with some favour by administrators and policy makers despite the reservations and criticisms of informed observers and the unusual scores produced by the citations indicator. In 2014, THE announced that the partnership would come to an end and that the magazine would collect its own data. There were some changes in 2015 but the basic structure established in 2010 and 2011 remained intact.

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