By Ruth A. Pagell*
(14 Aug 2020) It is challenging to keep up with all of the rankings. This update features a selection of recent rankings.
- What corporation has the most publications in Earth & Environmental Science? See Appendix A Nature Index
- What Asian university has the highest proportion of female authors? See Appendix B CWTS
- What is Latin America’s top university? See Appendix C THE Latin America
- What is the top university in Nepal? See Appendix D THE Asia
- Are the QS 2021K. rankings really the worst for U.S. universities? See Appendix E QS.
Nature Index 2020
Nature Index 2020 uses publication data from calendar year 2019 from a selected bundle to top scientific journals. Sample tables are listed below.
The default metric, previously named “Fractional Count”, is now called “Share”. It is based on an institution’s or country’s contribution to articles published in 82 natural science journals. Each publication is assigned a value of “1” and credit is divided among institutions and countries as illustrated in Example 1.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is number one overall with Harvard as the top university. The academic top 10 includes four from China, three from the U.S., two from the U.K. and one from Japan. 18 Asian institutions are in the top 50 worldwide, led by the University of Science & Technology China at number four. The U.S., China, Germany, U.K. and Japan have the most academic institutions and the most output.
A Guide to the Nature Index explains terminology and includes instructions to generate individual indices as in this example for India. Nature reminds readers to use the Index along with other sources to determine an institution’s research quality
See Appendix A (PDF) for the following tables and analysis:
- TABLE 1- Top 20 All institutions and Academic institutions
- TABLE 2 – Top Asia/Pac Academic Institutions
- TABLE 3 – Top Indian Institutions
- TABLE 4 – Countries
- TABLE 5 – Sciences
CWTS LEIDEN RANKING 2020
Ruth’s Rankings 8 introduced CWTS Leiden rankings. It tracks publication data derived from Web of Science. Ruth’s Rankings 35 featured the CWTS collaboration rankings. In 2019 we introduced CWTS gender rankings. The 2020 rankings includes 1176 institutions. Open Access is the new category which we will examine in the following update. The entire dataset can be exported.
The default is “fractional counting”, similar to Nature’s “Share”. Calculations are size dependent on number of publications and size independent on percent of publications. The difference in rankings between using size dependent and independent rankings is illustrated in Example 2 below.
Appendix B deconstructs CWTS rankings by types of indicators and individual sciences in Table Q2-B1 and by an example of a country, India, and a university, Indian Institute of Science, in Table Q2-B2. Harvard is the leader in publications for all overall science categories. Leaders in other overall categories are:
- Scientific impact percent top 10%: Rockefeller U
- Collaboration, international collaboration: Asia, National University of Singapore
- Gender, proportion of female authors: Medical U of Bialystok, Poland
- All open access: Bilkent U, Turkey
THE 2020 REGIONAL RANKING: Latin America and Asia
THE world and regional rankings use the same pillars and metrics as world rankings, with weightings adjusted for the region.
Ruth’s Rankings have neglected Latin America. The regional rankings differ from the world rankings. University of São Paulo, top in THE’s World ranking at 250-300, is second to Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in the Latin America rankings. Four Latin American universities are in the world top 500. Only one top 10 in Latin America rankings is in the world top 500. See Appendix C for Table Q2-C1 for the top universities and Table Q-C2, Latin America’s coverage in the world rankings.
We look for changes in THE’s Asia Rankings 2020, China keeps rising and Tsinghua is in first place followed by Peking. In 2013, Tsinghua was sixth and the University of Tokyo, now seventh was first. Changes from 2019 were minimal with Peking, Tokyo and University of Science and Technology moving up. THE Asia rankings added 62 universities and three countries. Using the same universities and indicators, but with different weightings, there is a slight difference between Asian and World rankings of Asian universities.
See Appendix D for the Table on the top in each country and their world rankings.
QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS 2021
QS 2021, released in May 2020, has 1002 institutions with overall ranks. An additional 184 are ranked in a least one category. The top 10 in 2021, 2020, and 2018 are the same with five from the U.S., four from the U.K., and one from Switzerland. Click here for the complete Table Q2-2 for top 25.
According to Hall (2020), U.K. universities suffered their worst rankings in the QS 2021 league tables. However, checking CWTS Leiden raw data, only one U.K. university in the top 100 produced fewer publications than in 2020. They maintained the percent of publications in the top 10%. Appendix E has three tables of UK rankings (Table Q2-E 1a) and analysis (Table Q2-E 1b). The top tier U.K. universities are doing better today than in the first ranking in 2004.
QS and THE released their updated young universities. Both rankings use the same methodology as their world rankings.
QS’ Top 50 under 50 2021 lists 150 universities. Seven of QS’ top ten are from Asia, with three from Hong Kong, two from South Korea and one each from Singapore and Malaysia. Two more are from the reorganization of the Paris university system and one is from Finland. The universities’ world ranks are displayed with links to the latest world profiles.
THE Best universities under 50 2020 rankings, highlights the top 100 and ranks 414 using the familiar THE interface. It provides university-level data and metric scores. The universities are extracted from the world rankings.
Nanyang Technological University is tops in QS followed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The positions are reversed in THE. THE has a subset for the best millennials, topped by the re-organized French universities with Paris Science and Letters first and Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology first in Asia. THE also ranks Golden Age universities, founded between 1945 and 1967. See Table Q2-3 for the QS and THE and Nature Index’ best young universities.
The next article will focus on updated journal rankings, open access and scholarly publications. Following that will be a re-evaluation of the modernized version of U-Multirank.
Nature Index is elitist. It is size dependent, based on number of articles, and limited to a basket of 82 top science journals. Social Sciences and Humanities are excluded. Institutions that have published in these journals are counted. The dataset can be downloaded.
CWTS uses modified Web of Science publication data. Institutions can be ranked by size dependent or independent (percent) data. CWTS has been adding new categories of bibliometric rankings.
THE and QS slice and dice their global databases, using similar bibliometric data from Elsevier. In QS World, many U.K. universities show lower rankings in 2021 than in 2020. They have higher rankings than the THE-QS ranking in 2004.
Overall, the increase in Chinese generated publications is evident in all rankings. Chinese institutions are taking over top positions in quantity but trail in quality. They are moving helped by government funding and international collaborations. The internationalization of higher education has led to inclusion of more universities, more countries, and more journals, impacting rankings overall. The erosion of academic colonialism in world rankings fits well into the current climate of more inclusiveness.
Hall, Rachel (10 June 2020). UK Universities suffer worst-ever rankings in world league tables. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/jun/10/uk-universities-suffer-worst-ever-rankings-in-world-league-table
A list of Ruth’s Rankings and News Updates is here.
*Ruth A. Pagell is Emeritus Faculty Librarian at Emory University, Atlanta, GA Author and speaker. 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, higher education and bibliometrics as well as contributing articles to ACCESS – https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674