Monday, February 27, 2017

Worth Reading 8

Henk F Moed, Sapienza University of Rome

A critical comparative analysis of five world university rankings

To provide users insight into the value and limits of world university rankings, a comparative analysis is conducted of 5 ranking systems: ARWU, Leiden, THE, QS and U-Multirank. It links these systems with one another at the level of individual institutions, and analyses the overlap in institutional coverage, geographical coverage, how indicators are calculated from raw data, the skewness of indicator distributions, and statistical correlations between indicators. Four secondary analyses are presented investigating national academic systems and selected pairs of indicators. It is argued that current systems are still one-dimensional in the sense that they provide finalized, seemingly unrelated indicator values rather than offering a data set and tools to observe patterns in multi-faceted data. By systematically comparing different systems, more insight is provided into how their institutional coverage, rating methods, the selection of indicators and their normalizations influence the ranking positions of given institutions.

" Discussion and conclusions

The overlap analysis clearly illustrates that there is no such set as ‘the’ top 100 universities in terms of excellence: it depends on the ranking system one uses which universities constitute the top 100. Only 35 institutions appear in the top 100 lists of all 5 systems, and the number of overlapping institutions per pair of systems ranges between 49 and 75. An implication is that national governments executing a science policy aimed to increase the number of academic institutions in the ‘top’ of the ranking of world universities, should not only indicate the range of the top segment (e.g., the top 100), but also specify which ranking(s) are used as a standard, and argue why these were selected from the wider pool of candidate world university rankings."

Scientometrics DOI 10.1007/s11192-016-2212-y 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As the most powerful and influential faction in the university, the quality of the university administration should be an important component of any comprehensive ranking. Indicators such as operational/cost efficiency & effectiveness, student & faculty well-being and satisfaction, accountability index, etc. are worth considering.