By Ruth A. Pagell*
- U.S. News includes four universities from Singapore
- No Asian university is in the top 10 in U.S. News Global or NTU Scientific Papers
- QS Asia increases its number of Hong Kong Universities to nine
- 70% of Nature’s young universities are from Asia or Oceania
- Taiwan is attracting more international students
- Clarivate adds SDGs as a research area
(25 Jan 2022) While I was out hunting for new rankings at the end of 2021 and learning more about SDGs and libraries at the beginning of 2022, U.S. News Global and NTU World Rankings of Scholarly Papers released their annual rankings, QS updated its Asia rankings, and Nature Index produced a new Young Universities list. THE is highlighting its international university rankings and Clarivate created prepackaged SDG searches as a category in InCites.
Some of this article updates the last News update of 2020. The rankings show the continuing rise of Chinese universities’ output.
U.S. News Global and NTU both use Clarivate data and both include universities that do not offer undergraduate degrees. 75% of the U.S. News weightings go to both size dependent and size independent data. The other 25% is from Clarivate reputation surveys. NTU uses only bibliometric data. 80% is size dependent.
U.S. News 2022 Best Global Universities Rankings includes 1,750 universities from 90 countries, an increase in universities and countries from the 2021 edition. A total of 2,005 universities are covered in subject rankings. The Asia rankings cover the entire Asian continent from Turkey and Israel on the west to the Philippines on the east and is extrapolated from the world list. The order is the same. Negatives are only current the year’s rankings are available and universities cannot be reranked by indicator. A positive is the interface where the user can select the geographic area, a region, country or city, a subject, and the size of the institution.
NTU Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (Taiwan) includes 816 universities. Only the first 500 receive scores. Additional universities have subject rankings. NTU has ranks by country but not by geographic region and six field rankings. Asian institutions, especially Chinese, dominate Engineering and Natural Science. Harvard is number one in Medicine, Life Sciences, and Social Science. Agriculture is the only field with seven different countries in the top 10. Rankings are available online back to the first edition in 2007.
NTU rankings measure just one aspect of a university’s performance using size dependent metrics. This results in smaller universities, such as California Institute of Technology, ranking ninth in U.S. News Global is 79th in NTU. See Table 1 below for a comparison of the latest U.S. News and NTU top 10.
The rise of Chinese universities is most obvious when comparing 11 years to two-year citation counts in NTU. Shanghai Jiao Tong is the only Chinese university in the top 10 for 11-year articles. U Tokyo is the highest-ranking Asian university for 11-year citations at 28 and Tsinghua at 36 is the highest Chinese. As the Chinese rise, Tokyo continues to move down. See Table 2 in the Appendix.
QS Asia includes 687 universities in 17 countries in East and Southern Asia. QS World Rankings Asian region includes 399 universities from 33 countries, covering the same area as U.S. News. QS Asia’s methodology with 11 indicators differs from the World methodology with six indicators. 50% of the weighting for both is reputation. The Asia order differs from World order.
QS also added ratings for two broad SDG categories, Environmental Impact and Equal Opportunities in its world rankings. Universities receive a rating from gold to candidate based on selected bibliometrics from Elsevier. Click here for the methodology.
Table 3 compares the Asia rankings for U.S. News, NTU and QS Asia. Asian top 10. Most universities are the same but in different order. The scores relative to the entire dataset are different. Asian universities rank the highest in QS; the smaller universities suffer from NTU’s size dependent variables.
Nature Young University Index 2021 has 150 universities, using publications for 2020 for the Index but from October 2020 through September 2021 for supporting data. The previous release was October 2019 with 175 young universities using 2018 data. The percent of mainland Chinese universities rose from 10% to almost 40%. Mainland China and Spain were tied 17 followed by Germany, India, and France. European universities were the biggest losers.
Nature’s methodology is size dependent. The Index has two rankings, Share and Count. Share allocates credit to an institution or country/region for an article, taking into account the percentage of authors from that institution or country/region that contributed to the article. A Count of one is assigned to an institution or country/region if one or more authors of the research article are from that institution or country/region.
About 40% of the universities are from mainland China. The top 15 universities are from Asia with six from mainland China, three each from Hong Kong and South Korea, and one each from Singapore, India, and Saudi Arabia.
The University of the Chinese Academy of Science at number one has four times the number of articles as Southern University of Science and Technology China which is in second place. UCAS is not included in some rankings because it only teaches graduate students. It is supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the other older Chinese universities. The newest university is Westlake, founded in 2018 as the first private not for profit university in China, is receiving private and public funding.
See Table 4 in the appendix for the top young institution in 2021.
THE Most international universities in the world 2022
The University of Hong Kong ranked first in THE’s most international list, HKUST was third, National University of Singapore is 8th and Chinese U Hong Kong was ninth. Three UK universities are also in the top 10, Cambridge, Oxford, and Imperial. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, ETH Zurich, and the University of Vienna make up the rest of the top 10. Five of the top 10 are in the top 15 in World Rankings 2022 international outlook indicator. THE highlights improvements in the international rankings for Russia and Taiwan and a downturn for Canada and the United Kingdom.
The ranking uses four equally weighted metrics: Proportion of international students, proportion of international staff, percent of international co-authorships and international reputation. 193 institutions are included based on the number of votes in the reputation survey. No indicators are provided, and the list cannot be reranked. I must admit I was puzzled by Hong Kong’s prominence until I read the small print. The international student and staff data are from 2018!
Clarivate adds SDG Search Strategies
Sustainable Development Goals keep reappearing in Ruth’s Rankings. Elsevier was the first to create “pre-generated queries” for 16 of the 17 SDGs to support THE’s first Impact Ranking in 2019. Since then, Elsevier has been modifying the strategies, integrating them into Scopus and making them publicly available. Dimensions followed with its own AI and human generated list which they are working on updating. It is only in January 2022 that Clarivate finally rolled out its own queries as a research area only available in InCites. It uses as its basis Eugene Garfield’s theory of co-citations to generate its pre-generated queries. When THE releases its next Impact Rankings at the end of 2022, I will provide new information about SDGs these SDG sources and bibliometrics.
To make the article more interesting, I wanted to report major changes. Publications have shifted to COVID, international movement of students slowed down but these have not made a major impact on the world rankings. Asia, particularly China will score well in Nature’s Young University Rankings as it rushes to catch up with the U.S. whose university market does not have room for growth and there is a limited range of subjects that suit China’s research. China scores well overall with government support.
This is my question going forward. As universities rethink their purpose, will the rankings change? We have already seen this with THE’s Impact rankings and QS’s first attempt with adding two SDG bundles.
U.S. News links: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/rankings
NTU links: http://nturanking.csti.tw/
THE International Universities
A list of Ruth’s Rankings and News Updates is here.
*Ruth A. Pagell is 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