Thursday, April 06, 2017

Trinity College Shoots Itself in the Other Foot

The story so far. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has been flourishing over the last decade according to the Shanghai and Round University Rankings (RUR) world rankings which have a stable methodology.  The university leadership has, however, been complaining about its decline in the Times Higher Education (THE) and QS rankings, which is attributed to the philistine refusal of the government to give TCD the money that it wants.

It turns out that the decline in the THE rankings was due to a laughable error. TCD had submitted incorrect data to THE, 355 Euro for total income, 111 for research income and 5 for income from industry instead of 355 million, 111 million and 5 million. Supposedly, this was the result of an "innocent mistake." 

Today, the Round University Rankings released their 2017 league table. These rankings are derived from Global Institutional Profiles Project (GIPP) run by Thomson Reuters and now by Clarivate Analytics and used until 2014 by THE. TCD has fallen from 102nd place to 647th, well below Maynooth and the Dublin Institute of Technology. The decline was catastrophic for the indicators based on institutional data and very slight for those derived from surveys and bibliometric information.

What happened? It was not the tight fists of the government. TCD apparently just submitted the data form to GIPP without providing data. 

No doubt another innocent mistake. It will be interesting to see what the group of experts in charge of rankings at TCD has to say about this.

By the way, University College Dublin continues to do well in these rankings, falling a little bit from 195th to 218th. 

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