2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities: Top 20 and UK placings

2014 ARWU University World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

It feels like a strange time to publish a world ranking but ideal holiday reading for many.

Anyway, as in previous years there is not a huge amount to get excited about as this is a league table where little changes. The full rankings have been published and are now available at the ARWU website

As in many previous years there are really very few surprises and almost no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the eighth successive year and everyone else just about unchanged too although MIT and Berkeley swap places inside the top 5. Overall there is very little movement in top 20 apart from the new entry of UCL in 20th place.

World
Rank
Institution* Country
/Region
National
Rank
Total
Score
Score onAlumni
Award
HiCi
N&S
PUB
PCP
1 Harvard University
1
100
100
2 Stanford University
2
72.1
41.8
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3
70.5
68.4
4 University of California-Berkeley
4
70.1
66.8
5 University of Cambridge
1
69.2
79.1
6 Princeton University
5
60.7
52.1
7 California Institute of Technology
6
60.5
48.5
8 Columbia University
7
59.6
65.1
9 University of Chicago
8
57.4
61.4
9 University of Oxford
2
57.4
51
11 Yale University
9
55.2
48.8
12 University of California, Los Angeles
10
51.9
30.2
13 Cornell University
11
50.6
37.6
14 University of California, San Diego
12
49.3
19.7
15 University of Washington
13
48.1
21.7
16 University of Pennsylvania
14
47.1
32.4
17 The Johns Hopkins University
15
47
38.7
18 University of California, San Francisco
16
45.2
0
19 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
1
43.9
30.2
20 University College London
3
43.3
28.8

 

In terms of the UK placings, the only substantive changes are that Bristol and King’s swap places and Nottingham drops out of Top 100. Given the general stability of the table it is not entirely clear why this has happened.

World Rank
1
University of Cambridge 5
2
University of Oxford 9
3
University College London 20
4
The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 22
5
The University of Manchester 38
6
The University of Edinburgh 45
7
King’s College London 59
8
University of Bristol 63
9-17
Cardiff University 101-150
9-17
London School of Economics and Political Science 101-150
9-17
The University of Glasgow 101-150
9-17
The University of Sheffield 101-150
9-17
University of Birmingham 101-150
9-17
University of Leeds 101-150
9-17
University of Liverpool 101-150
9-17
University of Nottingham 101-150
9-17
University of Southampton 101-150
18-20
University of East Anglia 151-200
18-20
University of Sussex 151-200
18-20
University of Warwick 151-200

Anyway, much summer fun to be had analysing this data.

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2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities: Top 20 and UK placings

2013 ARWU University World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

A level results day is an interesting time to publish a world ranking but who are we to criticise.

Anyway, don’t get too excited as it is unlikely the bookies will be losing their shirts on this one. Here is the top 20 in full. It is almost identical to last year’s with only one new entrant at number 20.

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 University of California, Berkeley
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of California, San Diego
15 University of Pennsylvania
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

The full rankings have been published and are now available at the ARWU website

As last year (and the year before that and the year before that) there are really no surprises and almost no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the seventh successive year and everyone else just about unchanged too. Probably for the best.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change with only spme slight upward movement for a few institutions.

1
University of Cambridge 5
2
University of Oxford 10
3
University College London 21
4
The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 24
5
The University of Manchester 41
6
The University of Edinburgh 51
7
University of Bristol 64
8
King’s College London 67
9
University of Nottingham 83

Let’s hope there will be a tad more excitement with the other league tables from QS and THE later in the year.

African Universities and the Global Rankings

Should African universities be concerned with the global league tables?

Inside Higher Ed has a really good piece on African universities and the impact of the international rankings. Essentially the challenge for Africa is that the global league tables use metrics which simply don’t favour the continent’s institutions:

Any observer of higher education in Africa would immediately realize that African universities, with the exception of a handful, stand no chance of appearing under the THE Rankings; or for that matter under other global university rankings such that the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking or the QS World University Rankings, which equally use criteria with a heavy bias on research, publications in international refereed journals and citations. African universities have to cope with huge student enrolment with limited financial and physical resources. They are short of academic staff, a large proportion of whom do not have a PhD. Not surprisingly, their research output and performance in postgraduate education are poor. It is clear that in the rankings race, they are playing on a non-level field.

But the more pertinent question is: should African universities attempt to be globally ranked? I believe not. It would be not only a waste of resources but also inappropriate. The priority for African universities at the moment should be to provide the skilled manpower required for their country’s development; to undertake research to solve the myriad problems facing Africa and to communicate their findings to the stakeholders in the most appropriate form, not necessarily through publications in international journals; and to engage with their community to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All targets. These do not fit the criteria for global rankings. They do, however, need assistance to improve the quality of their teaching provision, their research output and their service to the community. Their aim, and that of their government, should be that they be quality assured, not globally ranked.

Notwithstanding the recent success in the THE rankings of the University of Cape Town’s Medical Faculty (as reported in Business Day Live), this advice seems to me to be eminently sensible. Rather than chasing the rankings, where they will always be at a disadvantage, African universities should focus on delivering their regional and national missions in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. Improvements will happen over time and, hopefully, with support from universities in other parts of the world which will ultimately mean that institutions in Africa will be able to compete on the global stage. But chasing the rankings is not the way to go.

The Three World University League Tables of 2012/13

World University League Tables 2012/13

Following the publication of the THE world university rankings, we can put the three world league tables together, and in particular the UK placings, in a handy reference guide. They all offer their own unique take on world university placings.


Here they all are:


The Times Higher World University Rankings, including UK results.

QS World Rankings 2012 also with UK results.

Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings and UK placings too.

…all your world league table needs in one handy location.

One fascinating quirk of the world versus UK tables which demonstrates why caution is needed at all times when dealing with such data is that the University of Edinburgh appears higher in the world rankings in both the QS and Times Higher tables than it does in the recent domestic Sunday Times ranking (where it is 39th). Different indicators being used but it really does raise questions about the Sunday Times methodology.

2012 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

2012 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

Keep calm. Top 20 follows:

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
4 University of California, Berkeley
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of Pennsylvania
15 University of California, San Diego
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 The University of Tokyo

The rankings have been published and are or will shortly be available at the ARWU website

As last year though there are no surprises and absolutely no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the sixth successive year and everyone else unchanged too. They are going to have to think about changing to doing this every five years instead of annually.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change:

5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom 1
10 University of Oxford United Kingdom 2
21 University College London United Kingdom 3
24 The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine United Kingdom 4
40 The University of Manchester United Kingdom 5
51 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 6
68 King’s College London United Kingdom 7
70 University of Bristol United Kingdom 8
86 University of Nottingham United Kingdom 9

Only change is that Sheffield slips out of the Top 100.

Let’s hope there will be more excitement with the Times Higher and QS tables.

European Union university ranking plan: the sector holds its breath

Latest news on the most eagerly awaited league table

A post just over a year ago noted the development of a new EU ranking method. Now University World News carries a piece about the European Union defying criticism of its university ranking plan. Speaking at a rankings event in April Jordi Curell, director of lifelong learning, higher education and international affairs, did accept that not everyone was wildly enthisastic about the U-Multirank non-league table. But he did attempt to defend the idea:

“Rankings which are carefully thought out are the only transparency tools which can give a comparative picture of higher education institutions at a national, European and global level,” he told the symposium.

In March the UK House of Lords’ European Union committee called the initiative a waste of money. Its report argued that U-Multirank brought nothing new to a market already crowded by other international ranking systems, such as those developed by China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Times Higher Education magazine and QS.

But Brussels plans to plough ahead regardless.

Earlier this year the Commission announced that it would spend €4 million (US$5.2 million) testing its new ranking method and invited HEIs to tender for the work with the results due at the end of next year.

Curell told the symposium that generally, a reluctance to support rankings had evolved. But while they might not reflect the full diversity of reality, rankings shape the perception of that reality.

He advised representatives of higher education institutions present at the event to try to influence how rankings develop rather than opposing the trend.

This final point is a good one: universities do have to engage with the rankings. Although you don’t have to express support for them in order to do so. However, I’m still not clear why U-Multirank, a league table which will not be a league table, is necessary. We’ll have to wait and see.

Pride & Prejudices: Problems with National & International League Tables

Presentation from AUA Conference 2012

Thank you to all who attended this session on 3 April 2012

As promised, here is the presentation:

 

 

As mentioned at the presentation, this will be the last time I deliver this session at AUA conference. I’ve done it too many times but the main reason is that my co-presenter, Tony Rich, is no longer able to join me. Tony is seriously unwell and I would encourage everyone  to sponsor Jonathan Nicholls, Registrary at Cambridge University, who is running the London Marathon to raise funds for Bristol University’s cancer research fund.

See Jonathan’s Just Giving page for details.

The Three World University League Tables of 2011/12

World University League Tables 2011/12

An earlier post provided links to all of the recently published UK league tables. Now, following the publication of the THE world university rankings, we can put the three world league tables together, and in particular the UK placings, in a handy reference guide.


Here they all are:


The Times Higher World University Rankings
, including UK results.

QS World Rankings 2011 UK results

Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings

All your world league table needs in one handy location. Do handle with care though.

How to create a world-class university

Is there really a recipe for creating a world-class university?

University World News carries a piece on what looks like a fascinating new publication from the World Bank on the making of world class universities. The report looks at a number of case studies, particularly from East Asia, and draws out several common characteristics of the most successful institutions.

The report is available from the World Bank here and the abstract sets out the approach:

How do you build a world-class research university from scratch? In today’s ever-faster, global economy, many countries are reflecting on the merits of building elite global universities to make their mark in world research. Recognizing that such universities are emerging as the central institutions of the 21st Century’s knowledge economies, a new book ‘The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World-Class Research Universities’ examines the recent experience of 11 universities in 9 countries on 4 continents that have grappled with the challenges of building successful research institutions under difficult circumstances, and synthesizes the lessons learned. This book will be essential reading for governments, tertiary education leaders, employers, and citizens, considering reforms and innovations to improve their country’s position in the global scene.

The University World News article highlights the successes of the universities in Asia and their characteristics:

Top-performing research universities share three common characteristics – a high concentration of talented academics and students, significant budgets and strategic vision and leadership, according to the authors.

“Global talent search seems to be one of the most powerful accelerating factors” towards world-class status for research universities whether they are in a poor or rich country, and whether they are small or big, said Salmi. “It is all about talent.”

According to Salmi, what distinguishes successful East Asian universities from the rest of the world is an emphasis on international staff and students.

“Both Shanghai Jiaotong University [China] and Pohang University of Science and technology [South Korea] made a strategic decision to rely principally on Chinese or Korean academics trained in the best universities in North America or Europe and, to a large extent, to recruit highly qualified foreign faculty,” he noted in the study.

But he acknowledged that new research universities face special challenges in attracting top academics and good students.

One of the most successful examples in the study, Hong Kong University of Science and technology, “pushed this logic to the extreme,” according to Salmi

“The rapid development and rise of the new university can be attributed in large part to its systematic policy of giving priority to outstanding Chinese from the diaspora for staffing the initial contingent of academics.”

This enabled the institution to become a node for disseminating global knowledge within the country and region and to contribute to global knowledge, an important characteristic of world-class institutions.

It’s perhaps not terribly surprising that you need top talent, plenty of money and some good leadership for a university to succeed. More interesting is that there seem to be only a modest number of institutions which have rapidly achieved world class status in the way described here. Maybe it’s harder to collect the ingredients and follow the recipe than it appears.

2011 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 10 and UK placings

2011 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 10 and UK placings

The rankings have been published and are available at the ARWU site I believe but there seem to be problems with access at time of writing. Am therefore going with second hand accounts of the positions (which I hope are accurate).

As last year though there are no surprises and very little movement in the top 10 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the fifth successive year (last year’s position in brackets):

1 Harvard University (1)

2 Stanford University (3)

3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (4)

4 University of California, Berkeley (2)

5 University of Cambridge (5)

6 California Institute of Technology (6)

7 Princeton University (7)

8 Columbia University (8)

9 University of Chicago (9)

10 University of Oxford (10)

The Times Higher (which clearly has managed to access the ARWU site) has the UK’s top performers (ie in the Top 100) as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

5 Cambridge (5)

10 Oxford (10)

20 University College London (21)

24 Imperial College London (26)

38 University of Manchester (44)

53 University of Edinburgh (54)

68 King’s College London (63)

70 University of Bristol (66)

85 University of Nottingham (84)

97 University of Sheffield (88)

So, very little change at all to report apart from Birmingham dropping out of the top 100. Perhaps there will be more excitement with the Times Higher and QS tables.

Pride and Prejudices: Problems with National and International League Tables

Presentation from AUA Conference 2011

Thank you to all who attended this session on 19 April 2011

As promised, here is the presentation:

Shanghai Jiao Tong World League Table: Subject Rankings 2010

SJTU Subject Rankings 2010

In addition to its overall rankings and Field rankings, SJTU has also developed subject rankings in a small number of disciplines:

    Mathematics
    Physics
    Chemistry
    Computer Science
    Economics and Business

Some UK universities which don’t appear in the global Top 100 do rather well in here. For example:

  • Durham and Liverpool are in the Top 100 for Physics
  • Bath, Newcastle, Southampton and Sussex all appear in the Chemistry ranking
  • LSE, London Business School and Warwick all feature in the Economics and Business table

Shanghai Jiao Tong 2010 World League Table: Field Rankings


SJTU World league table: Field rankings

Following the publication of its World League Table, the ARWU Field rankings have been released. These complement the overall rankings and highlight relative standings in five broad discipline areas:

Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Engineering/Technology and Computer Science
Life and Agriculture Sciences
Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy
Social Sciences

As last year the University of Nottingham does pretty well in three of these tables: top 30 in Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy, Top 75 in Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the world’s Top 75 universities in the Social Sciences.

2010 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20

2010 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20

The rankings have been published and are available at the ARWU site but there still seem to be a few problems with access at time of writing.

In any case, no surprises and very little movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the fourth successive year.

    1 Harvard University (1)

    2 University of California, Berkeley (3)

    3 Stanford University (2)

    4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (5)

    5 University of Cambridge (4)

    6 California Institute of Technology (6)

    7 Princeton University (8)

    8 Columbia University (7)

    9 University of Chicago (9)

    10 University of Oxford (10)

    11 Yale University (11)

    12 Cornell University (12)

    13 University of California, Los Angeles (13)

    14 University of California, San Diego (14)

    15 University of Pennsylvania (15)

    16 University of Washington (16)

    17 University of Wisconsin – Madison (17)

    18 The Johns Hopkins University (19)

    18 University of California, San Francisco (18)

    20 The University of Tokyo (20)

As previously only Cambridge and Oxford from the UK make the top 20. Other UK universities in the top 100 can be found here.

Shanghai Jiao Tong World Ranking 2010

SJTU 2010 world university rankings have been published

Full table should be available at the SJTU site but it seems to be down at time of writing. Meantime, have the UK universities in top 100 courtesy of the Telegraph (where the story seems, slightly bizarrely, to argue that these results suggest UKHE doesn’t play well in China).

UK universities appear in the top 100 as follows (last year in brackets):

5 Cambridge (4)
10 Oxford (10)
21 UCL (21)
26 Imperial (26)
44 Manchester (41)
54 Edinburgh (53)
63 King’s London (65)
66 Bristol (61)
84 Nottingham (83)
88 Sheffield (81)
99 Birmingham (94)

So, roughly the same as last year. More to follow in due course.