(By Ruth Pagell, 27 June 2016) I received an email directing me to the South China Morning Post article about Times Higher Education Asia Rankings 2016. I had planned on disregarding these rankings since they use metrics similar to their new annual rankings and they only rank 200 universities, covering Asia from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. But I was so rankled by the article that I felt I had to once more emphasize the importance of understanding the methodology and scores.
This year’s Times Higher Education Asia Rankings includes 22 countries and 200 universities, 13 of the countries are covered in the QS Asian rankings. It also covers nine countries from western Asia, including six covered in the QS Arab region. We will look only at those countries in Eastern and Southern Asia. The 2015 rankings included only 100 universities and 14 countries with five of them in the Middle East.
Table 1 (THE) shows the top university by country, based on the composite score. China and Japan lead the region with each having 39 ranked universities followed by Taiwan and South Korea with 24 each.
Table 2 (THE) shows the top ten by universities by composite score, universities that are in the top ten in at least two performance categories and some analysis. Check methodology for the definitions and weightings of the categories. 37.5% of the score is derived from bibliometric indicators and 15.25% from some form of income. Also note that the 2014-2015 World and the 2015 Asian rankings used Thomson-Reuters data while this year’s World and Asian rankings use Scopus data. If the South China Morning Post had been paying attention in October, they would have noticed that University of Hong Kong had fallen one point in the world rankings.
For me, Table 3, comparing University of Hong Kong’s last two year’s ranks and scores is the most important table. Table 3 shows that the University of Hong Kong’s composite score is higher this year than last year, despite the addition of 100 more universities and eight more countries. The only score that is lower is Industry Income, a category where many of the older, comprehensive universities are not strong.
Help your universities and their administrators make educated analysis of the data so they do not just focus on the number.
Asia – 350 universities from 17 countries, an increase from the 300 universities in 2015: Methodology includes 20% size normalized papers and citations. See QS Asian Rankings for Table 1 (JNF) for a list of the top university in each country and Table 2 (JNF) for the tops in Asia by individual metric.
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 – orcid.org/0000-0003-3238-9674.