(5 April 2018) Many of our rankings appear once a year. QS and THE slice and dice their datasets to create subsets of their annual rankings. Are following these releases worth our time?
- QS adds two subjects: Library & Information Management and Classics & Ancient History
- Asia has more ranked universities in Materials Science than North American
- 15 of the 50 ranked Library & Information Management universities are from Asia-Pacific
- Kyoto University and The University of Tokyo are tied at number one in THE Japan rankings
- In THE’s 2018 Arab World rankings 11 out of 22 Arab League countries are represented
I always recommend that universities that cannot make the top 500 in the world, focus on their strong subjects. While the QS Subject methodology, which includes the Academic and Employer surveys and Citations per paper and H-index, favors their world’s top universities, many lower ranked universities can rise in their specific subject categories.
For 2018, QS covers 48 subjects and five broad fields. U.S. rankings continue to go down relative to other countries, but the U.S. still claims the most number one spots. China’s rate of growth is slowing. Two U.S. universities garnered 30 of the 54 number one positions: Harvard with 16 and MIT with 14. 19 different universities have one top ranking and Oxford has 6. The University of Hong Kong, tops in dentistry, is the only Asia-Pacific university in the number one position. (O’Callaghan).
QS World Rankings by Subject under their Intelligence Unit website includes visuals of the number of universities considered and how many were included. Other topics include “Weightings by subject”, to see how each category’s metrics are weighted; “Survey responses” by subject but not by country; “Research Metrics”, papers indexed; and “ASIC” (All science journal classification) by Scopus. Click here to see Figure 1, Weightings by subject. [NOTE: key to Figure 1 Blue – Academic Reputation; Employer Reputation; Orange -Citations per paper; Gold – h-index]
Eight east Asian universities have institutions in the top 100 of at least one of the broad subject headings. 41 of the top 100 institutions in Engineering and Technology are from the region. See Table 1 for country representation for four of the broad subject categories and two sample subjects. China leads in number of institutions. Australia and New Zealand did best in Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences. In applying the rankings to decision making it is important to remember that these are subjects, not professional or PhD programs. For example, Nanyang Technological University, ranked 30 out of 500 in Life Sciences and Medicine before it even had a medical school. A U.S. university ranked in that category must have a medical school.
QS added two new subjects in 2018: Classics & Ancient History, with 50 universities. Eight of the top ten are in Europe. They are examples of how specialized subjects may have different profiles than the World Rankings. The U.S. with 11 universities and Canada, Japan and Mexico with one each are the only universities from outside Europe. Library & Information Management has 50 universities from 17 countries. Their world rankings range from 11 to 551-600. 29 are in the U.S., UK and Canada. Asia-Pacific has 15. NTU-SG is the highest ranked at 18th followed by NTU-TW at 19. Australia’s RMIT is 20. Europe follows with 13. Nine of the top ten U.S. universities in the world are private and all 17 U.S. universities in the L&IM category are publicly supported. See Table 2 for selected L&IM rankings compared to world ranking.
A following article will look at rankings of professional programs.
THE MARCH UPDATES
We began our examination of Japanese student-focused rankings in our April 2017 News Flash. The methodology was more interesting than the rankings. Ruth’s Rankings 28 followed, describing the Japanese higher education environment and introducing local rankings. Nine of the top ten are the same for the Japanese rankings and the Asia and World rankings as shown in Table 3A. Only one university joined the Japanese top 20 list between 2017 and 2018.
THE 2018 ranking expands the methodology and includes fewer universities. THE added two metrics to the Environment pillar: the number of students in international exchange programs and number of courses taught in a language other than Japanese. The weightings for Resources and Environment changed. See Figure 2 for the 2018 four pillars. See Table 3B for rankings by each pillar. The rankings for Environment, which uses internationalization metrics, differs from the other rankings. Only two top ten universities are in the top 25. Six of the top are private and not ranked in Resources or the Asian and World rankings.
On March 20, 2018 THE released a table of their ranked universities that are part of the Arab League. The list is extracted from the world rankings. There is no change in methodology. 11 of the 22 Arab League countries are represented, seven from the Middle East and four from Mediterranean Africa. It does not include graduate programs or branches of foreign universities. See Table 4 for a list of countries, their highest ranked university and its world rankings. Universities from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and the UAE also appear in the 2017 Brics and Emerging Economies rankings. Jordan, Oman and Qatar also appear in the 2018 Asia Rankings, along with Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (Pagell). These other rankings include the same universities and use the same metrics, but they are recalibrated, resulting in a different order than the World and Arab League rankings. For individuals interested in the countries in the Arab regions, the QS Arab region rankings, released in October 2017, might be a better alternative. It includes one hundred universities with their metrics, and adds Bahrain, Iraq, the Palestinian Territory and Sudan.
I began the article by asking if these rankings are worth our time. The answer is yes to the QS subject rankings and their helpful metrics from the Intelligence Unit. The answer is maybe to the Japanese University rankings. It is interesting to see the impact that changing metrics and weightings can have as shown in Table 3B. The rankings by different pillars might also be useful. For example, a student wanting to study in Japan might be more interested in Environment than Outcomes. The answer is no to the Arab League rankings. The ranking metrics are the same as the world’s metrics and it is not interactive. All the countries except Algeria are included in at least one ranking in addition to the world rankings.
O’Callaghan, Craig (28 Feb, 2018) Out Now: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018
Pagell, Ruth. (7 Feb 2018) Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! 2018-1: THE Asia: Reshuffling the same deck. http://librarylearningspace.com/ruths-rankings-news-flash-2018-1-asia-reshuffling-deck/
QS Intelligence Unit accessed March 28, 2018 at http://www.iu.qs.com/university-rankings/subject-tables/
QS supplement accessed March 28,2018 at http://productionfiles.qs.s3.amazonaws.com/28522/proof_v5_28522.pdf
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 – https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674