By Ruth A. Pagell*
- NTU’s top ten East Asian universities rank 17 to 59 in the world. In 2007 they ranked 13 to 479
- U.S. News Global has 593 European schools and 589 from Asia
- BONUS: In QS Asia, five Malaysian universities are in the top 50
(6 Dec 2020) “Higher education institutions have more important tasks than providing data to rankings” (Federkeil as quoted by Siwinski and Bilnow).
At the end of October, IREG’s (International Ranking Expert Group) annual meeting discussed the topic of rankings in uncertain times. The group concluded that rankings are not going away soon, we might not see the impact of the pandemic and its effect on international movement for a few years, and that new metrics need to be considered.
It should not have taken a pandemic and a meeting of ranking experts to question the pervasiveness of international rankings even in certain times. One outcome of the current situation is on global mobility of students and faculty and the metrics, especially in THE and QS, on internationalisation.
Ruth’s Rankings articles reviewed books edited by Douglas on Flagship Universities (20 and 21) and Hazelkorn on Geopolitics (29), that expanded the roles of universities in their environments. We introduced the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in articles 38 and 41 with an update of THE SDG rankings in April. Access continues to track articles related to SDGs and libraries.
The 2020 publishing cycle of world rankings from our usual suspects has ended. This update covers NTU Ranking and U.S. News Global. Both use data from Clarivate Analytics. 80 percent of NTU’s measures are size-dependent bibliometrics. 75% of U.S. News Global Universities are bibliometrics, with the remaining 25% from the Clarivate Analytics Reputation survey.
NTU RANKING (National Taiwan University) PERFORMANCE RANKING of SCIENTIFIC PAPERS FOR WORLD UNIVERSITIES – released in and dated 2020
Clarivate Analytics (at that time Thomson Reuters) introduced me to the NTU rankings in 2008 on a visit to HEEAC (Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan). The rankings were a joint project of HEEACT and NTU. This is a ranking of scientific papers published in Clarivate Analytics’ Science and Social Science Index Citation databases. The visit led to my research and writing about bibliometrics and rankings.
Since the first rankings in 2007, the number of universities has grown from 500 to over 800, 24 subjects were added to six fields in 2010¹. All years are available online. Universities are included in subject rankings that are not in the world ranking. For example, unranked Singapore Management University is 109 out of 299 in Economics & Business. The methodology has remained the same. Table 1 lists the top 20 world and East Asian universities from the first ranking in 2007, the 2012 ranking where NTU took full control, and this year’s release. Harvard was number one in 2007 and is today and is number one in all this year’s metrics except the average number of citations. In 2007, no Chinese university was in Asia’s top 10. Five of the top 10 were Japanese. In 2020, six Chinese universities are in the top 10 and one from Japan. The number of Chinese universities has grown from nine out of 500 in 2007 to 108 of 800 in 2020. Japanese universities have decreased from 32 in 2007’s to 26 in 2020. See Figure 1 below for the rise in the rankings of the top four Chinese universities and the fall of the top four Japanese universities where a lower score is better.
NTU Rankings include three size-independent metrics: Average Citations, H Index, and a composite, Ref. Rank, adjusting for a university’s size. See Table 2 below for the world’s top five and East Asia’s top two.
(1) This compares the overall world ranking with the rankings for the size-independent rankings. Only average citations present results that differ from the size-dependent rankings. Asian universities show their metric rank and their world rank. Caltech is top ten in other world rankings.
The most important things to remember about the NTU Ranking are:
- All metrics are based on scholarly papers in science and social science using Clarivate Analytics data. Reranking is available for all eight metrics.
- All Asia, led by China, is in number of ranked universities while North America remains stagnant with only five more universities than in 2007.
- This ranking measures one dimension of a university’s performance.
U.S. NEWS BEST GLOBAL UNIVERSITIES RANKINGS – released in 2020 and dated 2021
U.S. News issued its first U.S. university rankings over 30 years ago and its first global rankings in late 2014. In seven years, it has grown from 500 institutions in 49 countries to over 1,600 institutions in 83 countries.
U.S. News’ measures are broader than NTU’s and they are presented as both size-dependent and independent metrics. 25% of the metrics are extrapolated from CA’s Academic Reputation survey. Reputation is also available for individual subjects. The rest of the measures are bibliometrics, with 35% size-independent. Click here for methodology. The interface is the least useful. Each university’s entry has scores on all metrics and ranked subjects but no data or way to rank by any of the metrics. Click here for a sample university.
See Table 3 for tops in the world and Asia/Pac. U.S. News displays a similar pattern to NTU with Chinese universities rising as Japanese fall. The number of countries represented in the top 10 in ASIA has dropped from six in 2015 to four in 2021.
See Table 4 for the top 10 universities in Africa and Latin America and the top university from each of the 11 European countries with a university in the top 100.
The most important things to remember about US. News Global rankings are:
- It has more universities than NTU, ARWU, QS or THE and many more Chinese universities.
- The only filters are fields, enrollment size, and location.
- Only the CURRENT year’s data are available; comparisons are difficult.
- It is a hybrid ranking, focusing on scholarly output like NTU and ARWU and including reputation surveys like THE and QS.
Table 5 compares NTU, U.S. News and in order to get a broader picture of the top scholarly universities, ARWU. There is a consensus of top universities with only 26 institutions in the top 20. The U.S. dominates the top 20 followed by the U.K. Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Oxford are everyone’s top 10 this year.
I planned on ignoring this update since RR 44 Part 1 covered the QS 2020 Asia Rankings from a student’s perspective. Then my editor sent me a news article on changes in Malaysian universities’ performance. See Appendix A, looking at the rankings from a media perspective. It has Table 6 and links to articles, ranging from being thrilled that a school was included in the rankings to a national disappointment that no university made the regional top ten.
We will continue tracking rankings with their current metrics, introduce new rankings, and pay attention to alternative metrics and approaches. The media response to the Asian rankings confirmed that interest in rankings remains strong, especially in countries that do not normally get global recognition.
“More and more Vietnamese universities have entered the “top” rankings of prestigious university ranking organizations. This proves that Vietnam’s higher education has made remarkable progress, catching up with the advanced countries levels.” (Lê)
We will also continue covering scholarly publishing, sources of underlying bibliometric data, such as Clarivate Analytics and Elsevier, as they relate to information professionals, higher education, and of course university rankings.
NOTES ON SUBJECT RANKINGS
¹ NTU Ranking uses six broad fields and Essential Science Index subjects, adding Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical engineering in place of Engineering and dropping multidisciplinary. Click here for the subject methodology.
U.S. News expands the 22 ESI subjects to 38, the three engineering categories and top producing selected subjects from Web of Science Schema, primarily in life sciences. It also includes Arts & Humanities as a subject. Click here for a detailed account of how U.S. News calculates its subject rankings.
Errata: Ruth’s Rankings 46 stated that WOS had 236 research areas. Adding in Arts & Humanities, it has 254.
Pagell, R. (June 2009). University research rankings: From page counting to academic accountability. Evaluation in Higher Education, 3(1) accessed at https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=http://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1000&context=library_research
2014: Ruth’s Rankings 6: Scholarly rankings from the Asian perspective accessed at https://librarylearningspace.com/ruths-rankings-6-scholarly-rankings-asian-perspective/
2015: Ruth’s Rankings 11 U.S. News and World Report goes global https://librarylearningspace.com/ruths-rankings-11-u-s-news-world-report-goes-global/
2017 News Flash: End of the 2017 cycle https://librarylearningspace.com/ruths-rankings-news-flash-end-2017-cycle/
News Flash 2018-6: Last of the 2018 cycle https://librarylearningspace.com/ruths-rankings-news-flash-2018-6-last-2018-ranking-releases/
Lê, T.P. (Nov 2020). “Do not let the world see Vietnamese universities as ‘level 3 and a half”. Laodong with Google translate accessed at https://laodong.vn/su-kien-binh-luan/dung-de-the-gioi-xem-dai-hoc-viet-nam-la-cap-3-ruoi-857927.ldo
Marklein, M.B. (16 Nov. 2020). New student enrolments drop by 43% in US. University World News”, accessed at https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20201116050900954
Siwinski, W. and Bilanow, K. (7 Nov 2020). Will university rankings adjust to our uncertain times? World University News, accessed at https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20201105133824428
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