We could be Heroes: Optimize your University for Global Rankings
Introduction: international university rankings
Education Ministry (MEXT) on how to rise in the rankings
Kansai universities’ reputation vs. international rankings
Online factors that academics can optimize
Open Web presence and impact of the university site
Online research repositories for faculty publications
Surprising uses of Google Scholar
Used by ranking organizations to evaluate universities
It finds and links publications, and it counts citations
It can be used to optimize faculty academic recognition
How to set up and customize Google Scholar Profiles
Conclusion: faculty-university mutual commitment
The Education Ministry aims
for top Japanese universities
to rise high in global rankings
Yahoo News (2013, July 29). Daigaku sekai ranku iri shien,
10-ko 100-oku-en hojo [￥10 billion to support the inclusion of
10 universities in world rankings]. Yomiuri Shimbun. Retrieved from:
MEXT: “In order to rise in rankings, it is necessary for
researchers attached to universities to do original studies,
through which, among other things, their published papers
will be cited by other researchers” (author’s translation).
82 1,850 151 667 2,018 94 (5)
Kansai 21 43 1,285 104 441 1,467 56 (4)
39 1,210 86 367 1,257 49 (3)
15 649 57 259 974 39 (2)
38 111 2,191 215 936 2,524 121 (7)
Kinki 41 181-
31 1,080 38 176 738 37 (1)
Konan 130 128 2,499 189 836 2,340 149 (8)
28 71 1,690 187 828 2,327 95 (6)
Sources, author’s translations and notes
“KAN-KAN-DO-RITS 関関同立(Kwansei Gakuin University, Kansai University,
Doshisha University, and Ritsumeikan University) is the abbreviation that many
people refer to when talking about the four leading private universities in the
region (of 20 million people…” from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritsumeikan_University
[It means that KanKanDoRits are known as competitive-entry private universities
in the Kansai region and Western Japan]
[It means that SanKinKoRyu are known as mainstay private universities in Kansai]
University ranking organizations
4ICU = 4 International Colleges & Universities, Japan from http://www.4icu.org/jp
QS = Quacquarelli Symonds [biased to large public universities?], Asia top 300,
WM = Webometrics [impact is 50% and means backlinks to the university’s official
Web domain], Japan & World from http://www.webometrics.info/en/Asia/Japan
SIR = SCImago [includes government & corporate research institutes], Japan, Asia,
& World from http://www.scimagoir.com/pdf/SIR%20Global%20JPN%202013%20O.pdf
95 (6)95 (6)
Have the reputations of these well-known
Kansai universities fossilized in Japan?
Are some universities punching
above or below their weight
in international rankings?
Note: Ranking organizations have
made their methods, criteria and
weighting clear, in terms of which
their rankings are accurate, so it is
important to know how universities
are evaluated, and then to optimize
Web presence for academic recognition.
How universities are evaluated by international ranking organizations
What university people can affect – optimization
Open Web publishing for impact and links (next slide)
online campus research repositories (later slides)
Google Scholar (Citation) Profiles (later slides)
See the handout later for details
McCarty, S. (2013). Web presence and higher education rankings.
Online Education Insights, 5 (1). Retrieved from
According to criteria of ranking organizations and Google Scholar:
Publish more content of all kinds
on the open Web, not password-protected
in the main campus domain, e.g.,
Have versions of publications in English and other languages
Interlink all Web content
Standardize spellings of individuals and university names
Format articles to match Google Scholar algorithms
Have bilingual or multilingual abstracts and keywords
Format online publications and presentations in PDF / rich files
See the handout later for details
Reprint faculty papers on the open Web
Need permission to reprint closed publications
Affect the size of the university’s measured academic output
Attract links and citations, which can raise the university’s ranking
Use open-source research repository software (next slides)
Are interoperable with Google Scholar, CiNii in Japan, etc.
Such data are also used by university ranking organizations
Increase exposure, backlinks (a measure of impact)
Citations tend to be more numerous to open access publications
Also interoperable are repositories
such as http://www.getcited.org
A justifiable reprinting on the open Web of articles published
Some items are simply listed,
while this item offers the file,
a presentation in PDF format,
not available elsewhere as such.
Citations in such PDF files may be
found/counted by Google Scholar.
The usual use of Google Scholar is to find reliable sources for research.
One might see a syntactically ill-formed phrase and wonder if scholars,
perhaps in educational technology, find it acceptable and descriptive.
447 results appear with the exact phrase, and the writers seem to be
English native speakers. Be that as it may, similar phrases can also be
discerned, so the disciplinary context of the phrase comes into view.
What may be surprising is that Google Scholar data on the publications
and citations of faculty members, which are selectively and incompletely
counted online, are used by ranking organizations to evaluate university
academic output, and this is a factor that can be affected by individual
efforts. The chief recommendation therefore is for all faculty members
who publish to set up and customize their own Google Scholar Profile.
Webometrics 2012 global
university ranking criteria
Example Google Scholar Profile: The focus is on citations. It handles various
languages. A verifiable academic e-mail address is necessary. Articles can be
sorted by most cited (the default) or in reverse chronological order (click on
“Year”). Customization includes specializations, co-authors (invited by e-
mail), and manually adding publications that Google Scholar does not find.
Start at http://scholar.google.com or http://scholar.google.co.jp (日本語で)
Click on Sign in, log into your Google account if necessary, and apply to
set up a Google Scholar Profile using your main academic e-mail address,
such as User_ID@xyz.ac.jp
To customize, click on links or choose among “Actions” from the drop-
down menu on your profile page.
Your Profile, which is indexed with a high weight in Google search results,
can serve as an online list of publications, updated automatically and
manually throughout your career.
See the handout later for step-by-step directions
Example of a Google Scholar Profile sorted in reverse chronological order
After clicking on the title of a publication in the profile, fuller details appear.
In the profiles only the first initials of authors are used. “Scholar articles” are
versions found automatically, while the above sections were added manually.
After clicking on “Edit” (previous slide) or “Add” and then “Add article
manually” from the Profile page, fill in the text boxes to make changes
or to add new publications (above example of an online article).
Gold standard of peer review.
Average number of citations is about 1.5 per publication in databases.
Google Scholar cannot find all the citations to a scholarly publication.
Authors who cite one’s publications may be helpful for one’s research.
Open access publications tend to be found and cited more than more
prestigious publications that are strictly kept offline. This may eventually
tilt the field toward openness.
Rory McGreal (UNESCO/COL OER Chair): “if you have to pay, it is a scam”
Conclusions and Recommendations
Many Japanese universities are punching below their weight due to a lack of
citations (MEXT, 2013) and rich content including English on their Website, so be a
faculty hero by helping optimize academic accomplishments for fuller recognition.
Universities hurt their rankings by high teacher turnover and part-time hiring.
Attractiveness to foreign students (reputation) is affected by rankings abroad.
Have an open source online campus research repository of faculty publications.
Have all affiliated scholars who publish maintain a Google Scholar Profile.
Optimize as well as maximize Web presence.
Have all campus Website pages interlinked, and encourage links from other
domains by providing faculty homepages and useful community services.
Show abundance and openness rather than scarcity and exclusiveness.
See the handout for details
4 International Colleges & Universities (4ICU Web Ranking)
Ranks over 11,000 colleges and universities in the world, so most of Japan’s
should be included. Criteria (4ICU does not claim that they are academic):
Google Page Rank, Alexa Traffic Rank, Majestic Seo Referring Domains, Majestic
Seo Citation Flow, and Majestic Seo Trust Flow
(SEO ordinarily means search engine optimization. Referring domains are other
sites that make links to the university domain, i.e., number of backlink sites)
University Ranking Organizations and their Criteria
supporting the optimization recommendations in this presentation
Times Higher Education World University Rankings: Top 400 universities
worldwide, by region, and by subject. “The performance indicators *are+
teaching, research, citations, international outlook and interaction with industry”
- Asian universities catching up [Editorial] (2012, October 17). Japan Times.
Retrieved from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/ed20121017a2.html
US News & World Report Asian Rankings (2012, based on QS, cited in slide #6,
which was designed to help international students planning to study abroad.
The Japanese universities ranked in Asia seem to be large and public ones).
Criteria: Asian Academic Reputation, Employer Review, Faculty-Student Ratio,
International Faculty, International Students, and Citations per Paper
(Japanese universities have relatively low scores on international criteria). From:
SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) uses “Scopus as the largest publication and
citation database of research literature, mainly (but not exclusively) composed of
scholarly journals and conference proceedings. Titles included must conform to
academic quality norms, specifically peer-review. Scopus covers titles from all
geographical regions containing the largest collection of non-English titles.”
Webometrics – Ranking Web of World Universities ranks the Web presence and
performance of over 20,000 universities worldwide, regionally, and by country.
Size means the output of Web pages. Webometrics and other university ranking
organizations claim that on-campus survey data would not be reliable, and that
institutions will rapidly lose ground if they do not work on their online presence.
The original aim of the Ranking is to promote academic web presence, supporting
the Open Access initiatives for increasing significantly the transfer of scientific and
cultural knowledge generated by the universities to the whole Society. [Today] the
Web is key for the future of all the university missions, as it is already the most
important scholarly communication tool, the future channel for the off-campus
distance learning, the open forum for the community engagement and the universal
showcase for attracting talent, funding and resources. … Webometrics uses link
analysis for quality evaluation [and] [r]esearch output … including not only formal
(e-journals, repositories) publications but also informal scholarly communication.
Web publication [can] reach much larger potential audiences, offering access to
scientific knowledge to researchers and institutions located in developing countries
and also to third parties (economic, industrial, political or cultural stakeholders) in
their local community. ... If the web performance of an institution is below the
expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities
should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases of the volume
and quality of their electronic publications.
Webometrics – weighting of criteria: Visibility (50%) = IMPACT = “counting all
the external inlinks (and the number of domains originating those backlinks)
that the University webdomain receives from third parties. Those links are
recognizing the institutional prestige, the academic performance, the value of
the information, and the usefulness of the services” … Activity (50%) =
PRESENCE (1/3) =
The total number of webpages hosted in the main webdomain (including all the
subdomains and directories) of the university as indexed by the largest
commercial search engine (Google). … It is not possible to have a strong presence
without the contribution of everybody in the organization as the top contenders
are already able to publish millions of webpages. Having additional domains or
alternative central ones for foreign languages or marketing purposes penalizes in
this indicator and it is also very confusing for external users. OPENNESS (1/3). The
global effort to set up institutional research repositories is explicitly recognized in
this indicator that takes into account the number of rich files (pdf, doc, docx, ppt)
published in dedicated websites according to the academic search engine Google
Scholar… EXCELLENCE (1/3). The academic papers published in high impact
international journals …
(Latest 2013 criteria). From http://www.webometrics.info/en/Methodology
Optimization recommendations: http://www.webometrics.info/en/Best_Practices