Home 2011 18 Aprile University rankings. What do they measure?
University rankings. What do they measure? PDF Stampa E-mail

In Issue 9 Research Trends examined the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, and we explored how the rankings of institutions in different countries have changed over the years. In this article we revisit university rankings from a country and regional perspective.  Two of the most widely known world university rankings — the THE-QS World University Rankings* and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) produced by Shanghai Jiaotong University — measure the performance of universities using a range of indicators, which are combined into an overall score that is used to determine the university’s rank. But how do different countries and regions perform for the various indicators on which their overall scores, and therefore rankings, are based? We investigate this question using data from the 2009 ranking exercises.

In 2010 the THE-QS ranking split into two new ranking schemes: the first, produced by QS, continued with the same methodology; the second, produced by THE in Collaboration with the information company Thomson Reuters, used modified methodologies, indicators, and data sources.

Scaling up to regional level in the ARWU rankings, it emerges that institutions based in North America (the US and Canada) outperform institutions in other regions on average, according to the Highly Cited and Nature/Science publication indicators, both of which are measures of high impact research (see Figure). In contrast, we see that institutions in the Asia-Pacific region perform poorly for the two indicators that measure major awards to alumni and staff.
(Fonte: T. Jones, Research Trends marzo 2011)