- Oxford and Cambridge are ranked 1 and 2 in the world
- Ten East Asian universities are in the top 100, led by National University of Singapore and Peking University
(7 September 2017) Since the release of the 2016-2017 rankings in September 2016, THE has been busy rolling out various adaptations, using the same metrics but different weighting for most of the variations (See list below). For example, the WSJ/THE and the Japanese College Ranking use modified indicators with a stated focus on “teaching and learning”.
The cycle begins again with the 2018 rankings of the top 1,000 universities in the world. It lists an additional 102 universities that have positions in other THE rankings or have recently fallen out of the top 1,000.
Universities are excluded from the World University Rankings if they do not teach undergraduates or if their research output amounted to fewer than 1,000 articles between 2012 and 2016 (and a minimum of 150 a year). Universities can also be excluded if 80 per cent or more of their activity is exclusively in one of our 11 subject areas (THE Methodology). Except for the rise of Cambridge to second place there is little movement at the top since 2004. See Table 1. News Flash World Rankings.Table-1-News-Falsh-THE-Worlds-Top-10
Chinese universities keep rising while U.S. universities are gradually falling. Ten fewer U.S. universities are in the top 200 today than in 2011 while the number of Chinese universities in the top 200 has stayed the same. As the number of universities in the dataset rise, so do the number of Chinese universities. Table 2: News Flash THE 2018: Asian Top 10 compares East Asian rankings in selected years from the joint THE/QS ranking in 2004 until 2018. In 2018 two universities from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Comprise the top ten. Also included are rankings from the Asia University Rankings, which started in 2013.
According to Times Higher Education analysis, a factor affecting the rankings of top U.S. universities is a decline in government research funding while European universities continue to get support from the EU. (Bothwell and Grove). Methodology incorporates this metric under the Research indicator but the data are not shown.
The 2018 THE rankings have two minor changes. Publications from subjects for which the university has no staff are now included. The rankings also include seven broad fields: Arts & humanities, Clinical, pre-clinical & health, Engineering & technology, Life sciences, Physical sciences, Social sciences and Business & economics. This information along with other information is only available under each individual university and appears if you click on “explore”. Figure 1.A: is an example of the shared metrics. Figure 1.B: compares the rankings of two universities. Another way to make the rankings more relevant is to re-rank the indicators. For example, by re-ranking based on citations MIT becomes number one in the world, while the Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology is number one in East Asia.
Adding more universities does not change the universities at the top. THE provides scores but not the data for many of the metrics. For more detailed information, sign up and download the Digital Supplement.
The message is the same: Before panicking because a ranking declined or celebrating because a ranking went up, check the scores and determine what is important to you.
THE News Flashes since the 2017 ranking in September 2017.
November 2016 – BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017 – recalibrated; 300 universities Peking #1
July 2017 – New subject rankings from ARWU and Asia-Pacific Rankings from Times Higher Education (Best Universities in the Asia-Pacific Region 2017)
July 2017 – Latin American Rankings; same indicators as 2017 world rankings with different weightings; 81 institutions
Modified Joint THE/QS 2004 rankings are available from Praphamontripong, P and Levy, D. at: http://www.albany.edu/dept/eaps/prophe/data/International_Data/WorldUniversityRanking2004_ModifiedFromTHES.pdf
Further analysis from Bothwell, E, and Grove J is available at https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/world-university-rankings-2018-results-announced
A detailed digital supplement is available with registration http://tes_global.formstack.com/forms/world_university_rankings_2018
Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! is written by Ruth A. Pagell, emeritus faculty librarian at Emory University. After working at Emory she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University and then adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii. She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to ACCESS – orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674.