Sunday, December 18, 2011

Leiden Ranking: Many Ways to Rate Research My article on the Leiden Rankings in University World News can be found here. It looks as though a two-tier international university ranking system is emerging.At the top we have the 'big three', Shanghai's Academic Ranking of World Universities, the QS World University Rankings and, since 2010, the Times Higher Education World University

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Update 6 on El Naschie vs NatureThere have been no reports for several days and the trial is now over. There will be a judgement in January.
What to do about the research bustMark Bauerlein has an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the disparity between the extraordinary effort and intelligence poured into scholarly writing in the humanities and the meager attention such writing receives."I devised a study of literary research in four English departments at public universities—the University of Georgia, the University

Thursday, December 1, 2011

European Universities and RankingsResearch Trends, the newsletter from Scopus,  reports on  a conference of European universities that discussed international rankings. The participants found positive aspects to rankings but also had criticisms:Going through the comparison of the various methodologies, the report details what is actually measured, how the scores for indicators are measured, and
Diversity and RankingsRobert Morse, director of data research at the US News and World Report discusses the question of whether "diversity" should be included in the ranking of American law schools."I was one of speakers on the "Closing Plenary: Reforming U.S. News Rankings to Include Diversity" panel, which discussed many of the issues pertaining to whether U.S. News should add a measure of

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Utility of RankingsAnother advantage of a good performance in international university rankings is that graduates will be able to get into Russian postgraduate programs (if your university is in a G8 country). Russia’s education ministry is currently drawing up a list of foreign universities whose qualifications will be recognized.The list will include only universities located within the G8

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Update 5 on El Naschie vs NatureThe BBC has another piece on the Nature case by Pallab Ghosh. It seems that El Naschie is now admitting that his papers were not peer reviewed but argues that this was because he had no peers who could review them: He said that he would discuss his papers with fellow scientists, and only when he thought that they were of a sufficiently high standard would he
The Politics of RankingOne of the more interesting aspects of the university ranking business is the way it is used by local politicians to advance their agenda. This is especially obvious in Malaysia where errors and methodological changes have sent local universities bouncing up down the QS rankings. Every rise is proclaimed to be a vindication of government policy while every fall is
Update 4 on El Naschie vs NatureGervase de Wilde has an article on the case in Inform's Blog. He refers to the Guardian's account and then adds the following comment:Comment The case seems to offer ammunition to libel reformers. Even in the absence of the ill-advised and incoherent aspects of his case which were excluded before trial, and of the implicit comparisons of his work to Einstein’s made

Friday, November 18, 2011

Update 3 on El Naschie vs NatureThe Guardian has a substantial report on the case by Alo Jha. It seems that El Naschie believes that expert witness Neil Turok is unqualified to understand his work.It is difficult to see how this argument, even if valid, is relevant to the point of whether or not peer review took place.Should the court decide in favour of El Naschie, it would provide some sort of

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Times Higher Social Science RankingsThe top three are:1.  Stanford2.  Harvard3.  Oxford
The Influence of RankingsVarsity, the student newspaper at Cambridge, suggests that British universities are recruiting staff in order to improve their position in the QS rankings:Matthew Knight, chairman of Universities HR and the University of Leeds HR director, said: “Within the context of £9,000 fees, many universities have a strategic drive to improve the quality of the student experience

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update 2 on El Naschie and NatureNote that New Scientist describes El Naschie as an "independent physicist". Does this imply that he has no affiliation and that Nature was correct in questioning his claims to academic status?
Update on El Naschie and NatureThe New Scientist has provided some coverage of the trial which is also discussed at El Naschie Watch. On November 15,  this item by Chelsea Whyte appeared:Benjamin De Lacy Costello, a materials scientist at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, testified yesterday that when El Naschie was editor, the peer-review process at Chaos, Solitons and
El Naschie and NatureThe El Naschie vs Nature case is under way at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.Briefly, Mohamed El Naschie, the former editor of the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, is suing the journal Nature and the writer Quirin Schiermeier for its comments on the journal's publication of many of his own papers.El Naschie is claiming that he was defamed by the suggestion that

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The THE Subject RankingsThe ranking seasons has drawn to a close, or at least it will when we have digested the feasibility report from the European Commission's U-Multirank project. Meanwhile, to tie up some loose ends, here are the top 3 from each of THE's subject group rankings.Engineering and Technology1.  Caltech2.  MIT3.  PrincetonArts and Humanities1.  Stanford2.  Harvard3. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Conference in ShanghaiI hope to post something in a day or two on the recent World Class Universities conference in Shanghai. Meanwhile, there is an interesting comment by Alex Usher of Higher Education Strategy Associates, a Canadian consulting firm."In discussions like this the subject of rankings is never far away, all the more so at this meeting because its convenor, Professor Nian Cai Liu,

Friday, October 28, 2011

An ErrorThis replaces an earlier post.Last year Times Higher Education admitted to an error involving Monash University and the University of AdelaideAlso, after the launch of the World University Rankings 2010 it became apparent that, owing to a data processing error, the ranking positions of two Australian universities in the top 200 list were incorrect — the University of Adelaide and

Sunday, October 16, 2011

GLOBAL: Despite ranking changes, questions persist  My article on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings can be accessed at University World NewsThe international university ranking scene is starting to look like the heavyweight boxing division. Titles are proliferating and there is no longer an undisputed champion of the world. Caltech has just been crowned top university by

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rising Stars of the THE - TR RankingsThese are some of the universities that have risen significantly in the rankings compared to last year.EuropeKarolinska InstituteMunichLSEZurichLeuvenWageningenLeidenUppsalaSheffieldHumboldtUSAUC DavisMinnesotaPennStateMichigan StateAustraliaMonashAsiaOsakaTohoku
Caltech in First PlaceThe big news of the 2011 THE - TR rankings is that Caltech has replaced Harvard as the world's top university. So how exactly did they do it?According to the Times Higher iPad apps for this year and last (easily downloadable from the rankings page), Harvard's total score fell from 96.1 to 93.9 and Caltech's from 96.0 to 94.8, turning a 0.1 Harvard lead into one of 0.9 for
Update on AlexandriaElnaschiewatch reports that Hend Hanafi, President of Alexandria University, has resigned following prolonged student protests.Apparently she was under fire because of her links to the old regime but one wonders whether her university's apparent fall of nearly 200 places in the THE - TR rankings gave her a final push. If so, we hope that Times Higher will send a letter of
Meanwhile over in AlexandriaOne of the strangest results of the 2010 THE - TR rankings was the elevation of Alexandria University in Egypt to the improbable status of fourth best university in the world for research impact and 147th overall. It turned out that this was almost entirely the work of precisely one marginal academic figure, Mohamed El Naschie, former editor of the journal Chaos

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Who else is down ?Just looking at the top 200 of the THE rankings, these universities have fallen quite a bit.University of North Carolina Chapel HillSydneyEcole Normale SuperieureEcole PolytechniqueTrinity College DublinUniversity College DublinWilliam and Mary CollegeUniversity of Virginia
Asian Decline?The Shanghai rankings have shown that universities in Korea, China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) and the Middle East  have been steadily advancing over the years. Did they get it wrong?The latest  Times Higher Education -Thomson Reuters rankings appear to prove that Asian universities have inexplicably collapsed over the last year. Tokyo has dropped from 26th to 30th place.
New Arrivals in the THE Top 200.Every time a new ranking is published there are cries for the dismissal or worse of vice-chancellors or presidents who allowed their universities to lose ground. There will no doubt be more demands as the results of this year's THE rankings are digested. This will be very unjust since there are reasons why universities might take a tumble that have nothing to do

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Highlights of the THE rankingsSome interesting results.57.  Ohio State University103.  Cape Town107 Royal Holloway149. Birkbeck184. Iowa State197. Georgia Health Sciences University201-225. Bilkent201-225 University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey226-250 Creighton University USA226-250 Tokyo Metropolitan251-275 Wayne State276-300 University of Crete276-300 University of Iceland276-300
THE Rankings OutThe THE 2011-12 rankings are out.Here is the top 10.1. Caltech2. Harvard3. Stanford4. Oxford5. Princeton6. Cambridge7. MIT8. Imperial College London9. Chicago10. Berkeley
THE Rankings: Caltech Ousts HarvardThis is from the Peninsula in Qatar LONDON: US and British institutions once again dominate an annual worldwide league table of universities published yesterday, but there is a fresh name at the top, unseating long-time leader Harvard.California Institute of Technology (Caltech) knocked the famous Massachusetts institution from the summit of the Times Higher