- Nanyang Technological University (NTU) takes over number one spot in Asia
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology remains number one in the world
(12 June 2017) Not only are institutions competing but the rankers now seem to be in a race to be the first one out with the new “annual” rankings. Last year, QS and THE released their 2016-2017 rankings in September. QS shortened 2017 by issuing its 2018 rankings on June 8, 2017. They include 43 new universities of which 18 are from Asia-Pacific. For background information on QS rankings see Ruth’s Ranking 5.
The usual suspects appear in the top ten for both the world and Asia with slight changes over the past three ranking cycles. The world’s top ten are the same, with minor changes in order. Looking back to 2004, seven are the same with the biggest gainer being University College London and the biggest loser University of California Berkeley (Table 1). The initial ranking included seven U.S. universities and two from the UK. In 2018, the U.S. number fell to five and the UK number rose to four.
Asia (excluding the Middle East)
In 2018, Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU), at 11th in the world, took over the top spot from the National University of Singapore which fell to second in Asia and from 12th to 15th in the world. The eleven top universities in Asia remain the same. Going back to the first ranking in 2004, eight of the top ten are the same (Table 2). Four more universities are in the top 100.The number in the top 500 remains the same as 2017.
Table 3 shows the number of institutions by country in the top 100, 200, 500 and total dataset for 2018, 2017 and 2004. Australia has the biggest loss in the top 200. The number of Asia-Pacific universities in the top 500 remained the same from 2017 to 2018.
QS is considered one of the big three along with Times Higher Education and ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities). It would have been more surprising to see major changes between 2017and 2018, given how close together the two rankings appeared.
Regular readers of Ruth’s Rankings know that all the rankings are criticized. We advise all users of rankings to check the methodology and the scores. 50% of the QS results are based on survey data and they do not tell you how the surveys are distributed. Two articles highlight problems with the way QS distributes its surveys (Redden, 2013; NTU ranks, 2017). Because the rankings were issued so early in 2018, the citation count, the only bibliometric indicator coming from a reliable third-party source, is based on 2011-2016 SciVal data. The 2017 count included 2010 through what was available in 2016.
The next Ruth’s Rankings focuses on Japanese rankings and will look at the effect of the different rankers on the ranks of the Japanese universities.
NTU ranks ahead of Princeton, Cornell, Yale and Columbia in 2018 QS results: “really shady”? (9 June 2017). The Independent accessed at http://www.theindependent.sg/ntu-ranks-ahead-of-princeton-cornell-yale-and-columbia-in-2018-qs-results-really-shady/
Redden, Elizabeth (29 May 2013). Scrutiny of QS Rankings. Inside Higher Education https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/05/29/methodology-qs-rankings-comes-under-scrutiny
Commentary on QS rankings accessed 8 June 2018. Accessed at: https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings-articles/world-university-rankings/out-now-qs-world-university-rankings-2018
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.