I’m delighted to be here. Thanks. So the 2012-13 World University Rankings were published just a over a week ago, on 3 October. It was a huge undertaking: 50 million citations, 6 million papers, over 5 years. 100,000 data points on around 700 institutions. 50,000 opinions since 2010. 41 countries in the top 400. 13 indicators. Five categories covering all core missions of a university. All to create one world university ranking. So it has been a busy year and a lot of work to bring you a detailed analysis of the results today. On the results, there is an awful lot to get stuck into – real and compelling evidence of shifting sands in global higher education -- but first, let me tell you a little about who we are and what we do.
So this is me. Or at least it is supposed to be me. This is a cartoon that was drawn live during a session at the OECD’s Institutional Management in HE conference two weeks ago. Described by one unkind colleague as “Clark Kent with jaundice”. But I wanted to share this image for two reasons: one, it just so happens to mentions that I was named as the 14 th most influential in education by the Australian newspaper this year. I do always like to boast! Although it does also make clear that it has been pointed out to me that I’m not even the most influential person in my own home. But this accolade from the Australian is important – I was listed as being influential purely because I’m the editor of Times Higher Education’s rankings. The Australian said: “In the past decade rankings have taken hold, dramatically reshaping university strategies and objectives. Mission documents are littered with aspirational references to be in the top 100 this or top 10 that. Academic workforces are changing shape as university managements bolster their chances of a rise in the rankings by hiring hotshot researchers.” This is true. Global rankings have become huge – influential beyond their original conception. And with such influence comes responsibility – responsibility to be transparent – to be clear and accountable about what we do, how we do it and why we do it. So I am, as it says here, committed to being a “FRANKER RANKER”.
So this is Times Higher Education magazine. Founded in 1971, was part of Times of London. [Murdoch gag]. Left Murdoch in 2005 – dropped the world “supplement” from our name, because we are not a supplement of anything. Now just Times Higher Education – THE for short. Daily news website – around 200,000 unique visitors a month now. On rankings day last year, around 1.6 million visitors in 24 hours.
And this is our parent company. TSL Education ltd. In Holborn, London. ALL of the company’s businesses are in education. We only do education. Nothing else. Sister paper TES 100 years old. Authorative, trusted source of information for those in education. Rankings must meet that long pedigree and high standards of trust. And as experts in higher education – we know universities are rather too complex, and do too many amazing, intangible things to be easily reduced to a single composite score. So why do we rank at all?
Well. We all know the changes that are upon us. Higher education has always been a global enterprise to some extent. But now it is truly global.
And rankings are genuinely helping us to understand these changes. They can perform a helpful function.
And of course they help students make choices. New data from IDP – read. Rankings and reputation of the institution was named by internationally mobile students as the single most important aspect when choosing which institution to study at: 33 per cent named it as their top priority Rankings and reputation also the most popular answer when respondents could give multiple responses: named by 85 per cent. Incidentally, this IDP research also found that the THE World University Rankings were the most widely recognised and widely used by international students by a long distance.
And of course, as was recognised by The Australian, their influence goes far beyond students. The THE World University Rankings are used by faculty to make career decisions, by university leaders to set strategic priorities by industry to influence investment decisions and increasingly by governments to help shape national policy. Government policy in Russia and Brazil (scholarships) but also India.
And we just have to be realistic. They are not going away. I think the important point here is “refined and improved”.
With such huge weight placed on rankings – crucial to produce something that can bear that weight. Essential to get the methodology right. So THE has been publishing an annual global ranking since 2004. But as we watched the role and influence of our rankings grow and grow, and we saw how much weight was being placed on them all over the world, we became very conscious of the criticism of our system. Realised who had a very serious responsibility to improve what we were doing. So this was our position at the end of 2009. former editor, Ann Mroz.
November 2009. Signed a deal with Thomson Reuters…. One of the world’s leading research data specialists. Worked with Thomson Reuters to build a new database of the world’s leading institutions, to develop a new missio and a new methodolgoy for a more rigorous and robust university ranking system. A new brand was born. Perfect partnership – THE’s 40 years of experience in higher education. TR’s expertise in data and research evaluation.
First thing we had to do is work hard to really understand what was not good enough about what we had been doing. Editorial board (members include Sir Steve Smith, Ian Diamond, former chief execuitve of the ESRC, Drummond Bone, head of Baliol College Oxford and former government advisor on internationalisation) Three major criticisms: citations, reputation, SSRs.
Very satisfied we did the right thing at the right time, to develop something of real value to the sector.
So we knew what was wrong about what we had been doing. But what should we be doing? First we had to go back to basics. What is it that we are trying to measure. What is a world class university? PLAY VIDEO An issue that has no correct answer – absolutely no consensus, not for centuries. Phil Atbach said: “Everyone wants one, no one knows what it is, and no one knows how to get one.” Universities have lots of different missions – each can display excellence against their own missions, be they global, national or local. For the purposes of a global rankings, we agreed we had to settle on a particular type of institution -- the global research-led institution. What Altbach would call the world class university. Such institutions want to be compared against global competitors, competing on a global market for the top faculty and students. Publishing in global research journals.
On this basis. Easy to settle on the core elements.
How do you turn that into a sensible rigorous ranking? Key development: we asked the community how they used rankings, what they were looking for. We are here to serve you. READ THEN… we took this information and we engaged in 10 months of open consultation with the community, through our news pages, events, open web forums etc. We then put our ideas in detail to an expert advisory group of more than 50 leading experts from over 15 countries.
And in a nutshell -- here’s what we came up with. 13 separate performance indicators, reflecting the full range of a university’s mission: research, knowledge transfer, global outlook, and yes, the teaching environment. A healthy 30 per cent dedicated to the teaching environment: unique to any global ranking. Despite major improvements to the survey methodology, we’ve significantly reduced the weighting given to subjective reputation indicators. Down from half to a third. Innovations: income and cash. Scaling
Can’t measure teaching quality globally. But teaching fundamental to any university. Use a series of proxies. Reputation survey. 16,600 responses in spring 2012 – total of almost 50,000 responses since 2010. SSRs: Waiters in a restaurant. Humboldtian idea that go teaching is informed by research. High density of research students is a sign of a research-led teaching environment, something to be valued. High proportion of doctoral awards scaled for the size of the institution – suggests supervison at the highest academic level. Income: PPP. $10,000 per student or $20,000. Matters.
The “research influence” indicator is the flagship. Single biggest – worth 30 per cent alone. We put it at the heart of the rankings. This is a really special indicator. In a nutshell, it looks at the role of universities in spreading new knowledge and ideas. 50 million citations of over 6 million research journal articles, published between 2006 and 2010. Citations from 2006 and 2011. They tell us simply which research has stood out, has been picked up and build upon by other scholars, and most importantly, has been shared around the global scholarly community to push further the boundaries of our collective understanding. Which research has been the most influential in its field -- whether it has deepened our understanding of the human condition in the arts and humanities, enhanced our democracy through free enquiry in the social sciences or has taken forward the fight against cancer in the life sciences.
It was at URAP 2010 where I heard Leiden University’s Tony Van Raan saying it was a “mortal sin” to fail to normalise citation data. Thomson Reuters owns the Web of Science. It indexes some 13,000 journals. This is obviously an excellent resource. But it is not just the size and depth of the citations database, that counts, it’s the expertise that is available to properly understanding and interpret the data that really matters. So in this regard, subject normalisation crucial. It is essential to properly reflect the very different publication behaviour, and citation volumes, between different disciplines. This table is from a five year period used for the 2010-11 rankings. Maths vs Molecular Biology – very similar number of papers, dramatically different citations. We fully normalise all our data.
Its all about the US!! UK takes three places. Interesting this year that Harvard has dropped to 4 th . But very, very tight at the top. Just 0.1 point separates second and fourth. Oxford rose because it diversified and increased its research income – won more competitive research funding from the European Union in particular.
US UK utterly dominate. But here’s the top universties by region/country
Don’t officially rank under the top 200 – use bands. But can reveal here today individual positions. And it is good news for Turkey. Great jump up the table by the Middle East Technical University – into first place in Turkey, from 280 last year to 203. Very close to the top 200. Bogazici Universtiy rose from 310 into the top 300 at 276. Istanbul Technical University saw a modest rise from 299 to 291 – a solid achievement given the increased competition. Bilkent saw a modest fall from 222 to 239.
A quick look at some individual scores. You see MENA okay across the board, but not outstanding in any areas. Key area for improvement would be international outlook. Otherwise no stand out areas of excellence or concern.
Country by country.
This just shows the distribution of the top 400 institutions. Top 200 in red, and members of our “best of the rest” list of those ranked between 200 and 400, in blue. Here you’ll see the clear dominance in terms of numbers of the West – Europe and North America. A smattering in Asia and Australasia, far too few in South America and Africa. But phenomenal concentration of WCUs in the West…
But look again. Something very important is changing. This looks at the numbers of top 200 representatives, but also average change in rank position. A very different picture. Look at the countries falling down the rankings – average US top 200 institution fell an average of 6.5 places. Indeed, of the US’s 76 representatives in the top 200, 51 fell. UK – average fall of almost 8 places. Canada falling. Big hit for Switzerland. Not looking good for France. Netherlands a bit of a freak (data improvement) and Germany, bolstered by Excellence initiative. But look at the Asia Pacific. Wonderful result for Australia. Superb result for Korea. Strong result for Hong Kong. Doesn’t show up here, because we only included countries with three top 200 institutions, but China is on the rise. [results]. Taiwan too. Singapore spectacular rises. A power shift from West to East, I think, is the story of the 2012-13 World University Rankings. Australia exceptionally well poised to take advantage of that.
Here’s a better way of looking at it.
Much more on line.. New university profile pages.
Transcript of "TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION 2012"
World University Rankings. URAP 2012.
About mePhil BatyRankings EditorTwitter: @Phil_Baty Email: Phil.Baty@tsleducation.com
Times Higher EducationThe global authority on higher education, in print and on-line,Visit: www.timeshighereducation.co.uk
Why Rank? Globalisation4 million internationally mobile students – 7 million by 2020200+ branch campuses40 per cent of research papers published by world top 200universities are internationally co-authoredSource/footnotes goes in this space here at 10pt - 8pt Helvetica
Why rank? Rankings perform a helpful function“Rankings… encourage institutions to move beyond their internalconversations to participate in broader national and internationaldiscussions”“Rankings… foster collaboration, such as research partnerships,student and faculty exchange programmes”“Rankings prompt change in areas that directly improve studentlearning”Source: US Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). May 2009
Growing influence among studentsSource: IDP research, October 2012
Growing influence…Source: IDP research, October 2012
Rankings are not going away. “Rankings are an unmistakable reflection of growing academic competition.. They seem destined to be a fixture on the global education scene for years to come. As they are refined and improved, they can and should play an important role in helping universities to get better.”Source: Ben Wildavsky. “The Great Brain Race” (Princeton University Press, 2010)
Times Higher Education’s responsibility “The responsibility weighs heavily on our shoulders. We are very much aware that national policies and multi-million pound decision are influenced by the rankings… We feel we have a duty to improve how we compile the rankings… “We believe that universities deserve a rigorous, robust and transparent set of rankings – a serious tool for the sector, not just an annual curiosity.”Source: Ann Mroz, editor Times Higher Education magazine, November 2009
Times Higher Education editorial board’s three majorcriticisms:Citations data not normalised.Staff student ratio a weak proxyToo dependent on subjective opinionSource/footnotes goes in this space here at 10pt - 8pt Helvetica
Why we were right to change:“I will not discuss the QS ranking because the methodology is notsufficiently robust to provide data valid as social science.”Simon Marginson, University of Melbourne“This ranking is complete rubbish and nobody should place anycredence in it. The results are based on an entirely flawedmethodology that underweights the quality of research andoverweights fluff… The QS is a flawed index and should be ignored.”David Blanchflower, professor of economics, Dartmouth College“Whether the QS rankings should be taken seriously by the highereducation community is questionable”.Philip Altbach, Boston CollegeSources: University World News, 10 June 2012; New Statesman, 5 September 2011; Change magazineJan/Feb 2012
The four key pillars: Knowledge Global Teaching Transfer outlook Researc hSource/footnotes goes in this space here at 10pt - 8pt Helvetica
Thomson Reuters’ Stakeholder survey92% said faculty output (publications) was a “must have/nice to have”91% said that faculty impact (citations) was a “must have/nice to have”86% said they wanted faculty/student ratios84% said they wanted data on income from research grants79% said they wanted a peer “reputation” measureSource: New Outlooks on Institutional Profiles, Thomson Reuters, 2009
World UniversityRankings: MethodologyMethodology used for 2011-12 World University rankings and 2012-13.
Teaching – the learning environment“I welcome the way Times Higher Education is also trying tomeasure teaching and is recognising that that’s a crucial partof the university experience.”David Willetts, UK universities and science ministerSource/footnotes goes in this space here at 10pt - 8pt Helvetica
International Outlook – staff, students and research (7.5 %)International students/total students (2.5 %)International academic staff/total academic staff (2.5 %)Scholarly papers with at least one internationalauthor/Total scholarly papers (2.5 %)
Industry income – innovation (2.5%)Research income from industry/Academic Staff (2.5 %)
Research – volume, income and reputation (30%)Reputation survey – research (18%)Research income (PPP)/Academic staff (6%)Scholarly papers/Academic staff and research staff (6%)
Citations – research influence (30 %)Citation impact(normalised average citations per paper) (30%)
Reactions to the World University Rankings methodology“Times Higher Education rankings – now increasingly seen as the goldstandard.”Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, Vice Chancellor, Robert GordonUniversity“The new methodology employed by Times Higher Education is less heavilyweighted towards subjective assessments of reputation and uses morerobust citation measures. This bolsters confidence in the evaluationmethod.”Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor, Exeter University“I congratulate THE for reviewing their methodology to produce this newpicture of the best in higher education.”David Willetts, UK minister for universities