Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! Three Asian Universities Join ARWU’s Top 100

(24 August 2016) Tsinghua University, Peking University and National University of Singapore join Japanese universities Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya and Osaka in the top 100 of Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 (ARWU), released on 19 August  2016. Note a change in branding as well.

ARWU examines more than 1,000 universities who meet the following criteria.  It considers “every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included.”  Following this analysis it includes 500 universities in the rankings with 100 getting individual ranks.

The top 10 world universities in 2016 are the same as the top 10 in 2015 and the top 11 are the same as in 2003.  Only the order has changed over the years.  Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Cambridge and MIT remain top five while Princeton, Oxford, Cal Tech, Columbia and Chicago fill out the top ten lists. See Table 15 ARWU for prior years’ top world rankings.

Table 1 includes the top 10 in Asia (excluding the Middle East) for the past three years.  It also includes the first ranking in 2003 when five Japanese universities were in the top 100.


Four more Japanese universities followed with a ranking of 102-151, including Hokkaido, Kyushu, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tsukuba.  These are no longer on our top list, having been replaced with universities from China and Singapore. The university showing the greatest increase is Shanghai Jiao Tong, going from the lowest tier to the top 150.  Figure 1 shows the ARWU time line of SJTU’s rise.


Following up on Ruth’s Rankings 20, where we looked at the performance of systems, Table 2 shows the change in distribution of rankings for countries from the first available statistics in 2004 to current distributions. The overall number of Asia/Pac universities has increased with Chinese Universities (including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) showing the greatest increase while half the Japanese universities dropped out of the top 500.


If your institution is not in the ARWU rankings, remember that the methodology is size dependent and it focuses on the sciences.

When the new Times Higher Education and QS World rankings are released in September 2016, we will look at all the changes in more depth.

Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! is written by Ruth A. Pagell, currently an adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii.   Before joining UH, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University.  She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to ACCESS –