Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! 2019-03: CWTS Leiden 2019 adds new metrics for Open Access and Gender

  • What Asia/Pac university has the highest proportion of publications in the top ten percent?
  • How many Chinese universities are in the top 25 in publications?
  • In what category does Hong Kong Poly rank second in the world?
  • What Southeast Asian university ranks first in the number of female authors in the field of Biomedical and health sciences?

Ruth’s Rankings 8  introduced CWTS Leiden rankings. The May 2017 New Flash updated the rankings. In 2018  Ruth’s Rankings 35  featured the Leiden collaboration rankings.

Leiden releases its rankings annually, named by calendar year. The 2014 rankings included 750 universities ranked on Impact and Collaboration. The 2019 rankings include 963 universities and new categories, Open Access and Gender. All 963 universities are ranked in all metrics. Data, not scores, are provided.  Click here for information on all the indicators.

Scientific Impact and Collaboration

Leiden modifies the Web of Science Core Collection to create its own collection of journals, counting articles and reviews. Universities have at least 1,000 publications over the 2014-2017 time period. Citations are counted through 2018. For Scientific Impact and subject rankings, the default is “fractional counting”. The other rankings use full counting method.

Example 1: Publications:  An article has four co-authors.  Two are affiliated with University A.  The others are at universities B and C.  In full counting each of the three universities will get full credit for the article.  In fractional accounting, University A gets credit for half the article and Universities B and C each get credit for a quarter.

China leads the top 25 in publications [P] with 11 to seven from the U.S. In 2014, all top 25 were from the U.S. The U.S. leads the top 25 in proportion of publications in the top 10% in their field [ PP(top 10%)] with 15 followed by six from the UK, two from Switzerland and one from Israel and France. Only Harvard is top ten in output and impact. The highest ranked Asia/Pac university in top ten percent is Hong Kong UST at 42. See Table 1 (in pdf) for top world universities and Table 2 (in pdf) for Top Asia/Pac universities. Tables have additional notes.

There are three other sets of rankings, Collaboration, and the new rankings for Open Access and Gender.  See Table 3 (in pdf) for a comparison of each of the three composite rankings with world rankings. See Table 4 (in pdf) for tops in the world, Asia/Pac and the U.S. using proportional rankings.

Collaboration has an overall ranking and four other categories. The only change at the top between 2018 and 2019 is in overall collaboration.  Novosibirsk State U replaced Université Paris IV Paris as number one. Other indicators are

  • International collaboration – Four top 10 from the Middle East; none from Asia-Pac
  • Collaboration within 100 km (62 miles) – Seven from Asia/Pac
  • Collaboration greater than 5,000 km (3,107 miles) – All top 125 from US and Canada
  • Collaboration with industry – Three Chinese Petroleum universities in the top five

Open Access rankings use Web of Science data and Unpaywall to verify open access status.  There are six sets of rankings with three metrics:  total publications using full count, total open access articles and percent open access. Hong Kong Poly is second in the world for proportion of open access articles.

In addition to a composite ranking there are:

  • Gold – Publications in open access journals with seven of the top ten from China and Taiwan.
  • Hybrid – Publications in a subscription journal that are open access with all top 10 from the UK.
  • Bronze – Publications that are open access without a license with seven of top ten from U.S.
  • Green – Publications in a journal that are also available in an open repository with seven from the U.S.


Gender rankings are based on authorships of an institution for which the gender can be determined. 

Example 2: Authorship:  An article has four co-authors.  Two are affiliated with University A, and one each at universities B and C. The article counts twice for University on A and once for the other universities.  If all four authors were from University A, it would count four times. 

Leiden uses three sources to try to identify gender: Gender API,, and Gender Guesser.  First it has to try to link the names to a country.

Gender indicators count the total authorships, male and female authorships where the gender can be determined, the number of authors for whom gender cannot be determined and proportions of male and female authors. Chinese rankings are unreliable since the names prove to be the hardest to disambiguate and to assign a gender.  Over 60% of gender is unknown for all of the mainland Chinese universities with 65 having only 30% known. 

Only 15 of the 963 universities have more female authors than male.  Six are in Poland, three are in Brazil two in Thailand and Serbia one in Argentina and Portugal.  The median percent of female authors is under 30%.


Leiden Rankings are often ignored in favor of the Big three (ARWU, THE and QS). They differ from the other rankings by presenting the data not scores and not providing a composite score for Scientific Impact. All data are bibliometric.

This update has a lot of numbers. For those of you who really like numbers, the entire dataset is available for downloading including about 100 indicators for each university from nine time periods and five broad subject areas. Search by a metric, region, subject and time period.

Example 3:  Search question: What Southeast Asian university ranks first in the number of female authors in the field of Biomedical and health science?  Have they always been first?  Select the gender metric for proportion of females, the region Asia, and the field.  Khon Kaen U in Thailand is number one today and was number one using data from 2006-2009.

CWTS Leiden is the best source for scholarly rankings for those without subscriptions to Clarivate Analytic or Elsevier because of the availability of the datasets.

Open Access and Gender deserve separate coverage in future articles.

Van Leeuwen, T., Costas, R., & Robinson- Garcia N. (15 May 2019),  Indicators of open access publishing in the CWTS Leiden Rankings 2019 accessed at

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 –