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''Times Higher Education World University Rankings'' is an annual publication of university rankings by ''Times Higher Education'' (THE) magazine. The publisher had collaborated with
Quacquarelli SymondsQuacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a British company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world. The company was founded in 1990 by Nunzio Quacquarelli. History On 5 October 2017, QS Quacquarelli Symonds acquired Hobso ...
(QS) to publish the joint ''
THE-QS World University Rankings ''QS World University Rankings'' is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Previously known as ''Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings'', the publisher had collaborated with ''Times Higher Educat ...
'' from 2004 to 2009 before it turned to
Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters Corporation () is a Canadian-American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple cou ...
for a new ranking system from 2010–2013. The magazine signed a new deal with
Elsevier Elsevier () is a Netherlands-based publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journals such as ''The Lancet'' and ''Cell ...

Elsevier
in 2014 who now provide them with the data used to compile the rankings. The publication now comprises the world's overall, subject, and reputation rankings, alongside three regional league tables, ''Asia'', ''Latin America'', and ''BRICS & Emerging Economies'' which are generated by different weightings. THE Rankings is often considered one of the most widely observed university rankings together with ''
Academic Ranking of World Universities The ''Academic Ranking of World Universities'' (''ARWU''), also known as the Shanghai Ranking, is one of the annual publications of world university rankings. The league table was originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University ...

Academic Ranking of World Universities
'' and ''
QS World University Rankings ''QS World University Rankings'' is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Previously known as ''Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings'', the publisher had collaborated with ''Times Higher Educat ...
''. It is praised for having a new, improved ranking methodology since 2010; however, undermining of
non-science A non-science is an area of study that is not scientific, especially one that is not a natural science or a social science that is an object of scientific inquiry. In this model, history, art, and religion are all examples of non-sciences. Class ...
and non-English instructing institutions and relying on subjective reputation survey are among the criticism and concerns.


History

The creation of the original ''
Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings The term Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings refers to rankings published jointly between 2004 and 2009 by ''Times Higher Education ''Times Higher Education'' (''THE''), formerly ''The Times Higher Education Supplement'' (''THE ...
'' was credited in Ben Wildavsky's book, ''The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World'', to then-editor of ''Times Higher Education'', John O'Leary. ''Times Higher Education'' chose to partner with educational and careers advice company QS to supply the data. After the 2009 rankings, ''Times Higher Education'' took the decision to break from QS and signed an agreement with Thomson Reuters to provide the data for its annual World University Rankings from 2010 onwards. The publication developed a new rankings methodology in consultation with its readers, its editorial board and Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters will collect and analyse the data used to produce the rankings on behalf of Times Higher Education. The first ranking was published in September 2010. Commenting on Times Higher Education's decision to split from QS, former editor Ann Mroz said: "universities deserve a rigorous, robust and transparent set of rankings – a serious tool for the sector, not just an annual curiosity." She went on to explain the reason behind the decision to continue to produce rankings without QS' involvement, saying that: "The responsibility weighs heavy on our shoulders...we feel we have a duty to improve how we compile them." Phil Baty, editor of the new Times Higher Education World University Rankings, admitted in Inside Higher Ed: "The rankings of the world's top universities that my magazine has been publishing for the past six years, and which have attracted enormous global attention, are not good enough. In fact, the surveys of reputation, which made up 40 percent of scores and which Times Higher Education until recently defended, had serious weaknesses. And it's clear that our research measures favored the sciences over the humanities." He went on to describe previous attempts at peer review as "embarrassing" in ''
The Australian ''The Australian'' and its Saturday edition, the ''Weekend Australian'', is a broadsheet newspaper published by News Corp Australia since 14 July 1964.Sincliar, John. "Political economy and discourse in Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Austra ...
'': "The sample was simply too small, and the weighting too high, to be taken seriously." THE published its first rankings using its new methodology on 16 September 2010, a month earlier than previous years. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, along with the QS World University Rankings and the
Academic Ranking of World Universities The ''Academic Ranking of World Universities'' (''ARWU''), also known as the Shanghai Ranking, is one of the annual publications of world university rankings. The league table was originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University ...

Academic Ranking of World Universities
are described to be the three most influential international university rankings. ''
The Globe and Mail ''The Globe and Mail'' is a Newspapers in Canada, Canadian newspaper printed in five cities in Western Canada, western and central Canada. With a weekly readership of 2,018,923 in 2015, it is Canada's most widely read newspaper on weekdays and Sat ...

The Globe and Mail
'' in 2010 described the Times Higher Education World University Rankings to be "arguably the most influential." In 2014 Times Higher Education announced a series of important changes to its flagship THE World University Rankings and its suite of global university performance analyses, following a strategic review by THE parent company TES Global.


Methodology


Criteria and weighing

The inaugural 2010-2011
methodology Methodology is the study of research methods, or, more formally, "'a contextual framework' for research, a coherent and logical scheme based on views, beliefs, and values, that guides the choices researchers
r other users R, or r, is the eighteenth letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet The ISO basic Latin alphabet is a Latin-script alphabet A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that ...
make". It comprise ...
contained 13 separate indicators grouped under five categories: Teaching (30 percent of final score), research (30 percent), citations (research impact) (worth 32.5 percent), international mix (5 percent), industry income (2.5 percent). The number of indicators is up from the Times-QS rankings published between 2004 and 2009, which used six indicators.World University Rankings subject tables: Robust, transparent and sophisticated
(16 September 2010). ''Times Higher Education World University Rankings''.
A draft of the inaugural methodology was released on 3 June 2010. The draft stated that 13 indicators would first be used and that this could rise to 16 in future rankings, and laid out the categories of indicators as "research indicators" (55 percent), "institutional indicators" (25 percent), "economic activity/innovation" (10 percent), and "international diversity" (10 percent). The names of the categories and the weighting of each was modified in the final methodology, released on 16 September 2010. The final methodology also included the weighting signed to each of the 13 indicators, shown below: The ''Times Higher Education'' billed the methodology as "robust, transparent and sophisticated," stating that the final methodology was selected after considering 10 months of "detailed consultation with leading experts in global higher education," 250 pages of feedback from "50 senior figures across every continent" and 300 postings on its website. The overall ranking score was calculated by making Z-scores all datasets to standardize different data types on a common scale to better make comparisons among data. The reputational component of the rankings (34.5 percent of the overall score – 15 percent for teaching and 19.5 percent for research) came from an Academic Reputation Survey conducted by
Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters Corporation () is a Canadian-American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple cou ...
in spring 2010. The survey gathered 13,388 responses among scholars "statistically representative of global higher education's geographical and subject mix." The magazine's category for "industry income – innovation" came from a sole indicator, institution's research income from industry scaled against the number of academic staff." The magazine stated that it used this data as "proxy for high-quality knowledge transfer" and planned to add more indicators for the category in future years. Data for
citation impact Citation impact is a measure of how many times an academic journal article or book or author is cited by other articles, books or authors. Citation counts are interpreted as measures of the impact or influence of academic work and have given rise t ...
(measured as a normalized average citation per paper), comprising 32.5 percent of the overall score, came from 12,000
academic journal An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most ...
s
indexed Index may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Index (A Certain Magical Index), Index (''A Certain Magical Index''), a character in the light novel series ''A Certain Magical Index'' * The Index, an item on a Halo (megastr ...
by Thomson Reuters' large
Web of Science Web of Science (previously known as Web of Knowledge) is a website that provides subscription-based access to multiple databases that provide comprehensive citation data for many different academic disciplines. It was originally produced by the In ...
database over the five years from 2004 to 2008. The ''Times'' stated that articles published in 2009–2010 have not yet completely accumulated in the database. The normalization of the data differed from the previous rankings system and is intended to "reflect variations in citation volume between different subject areas," so that institutions with high levels of research activity in the
life science Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, a ...
s and other areas with high citation counts will not have an unfair advantage over institutions with high levels of research activity in the
social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociol ...

social science
s, which tend to use fewer citations on average. The magazine announced on 5 September 2011 that its 2011–2012 World University Rankings would be published on 6 October 2011.Phil Baty,
World University Rankings launch date revealed
(5 September 2011). ''Times Higher Education''.
At the same time, the magazine revealed changes to the ranking formula that will be introduced with the new rankings. The methodology will continue to use 13 indicators across five broad categories and will keep its "fundamental foundations," but with some changes. Teaching and research will each remain 30 percent of the overall score, and industry income will remain at 2.5 percent. However, a new "international outlook – staff, students and research" will be introduced and will make up 7.5 percent of the final score. This category will include the proportion of international staff and students at each institution (included in the 2011–2012 ranking under the category of "international diversity"), but will also add the proportion of research papers published by each institution that are co-authored with at least one international partner. One 2011–2012 indicator, the institution's public research income, will be dropped. On 13 September 2011, the ''Times Higher Education'' announced that its 2011–2012 list will only rank the top 200 institutions. Phil Baty wrote that this was in the "interests of fairness," because "the lower down the tables you go, the more the data bunch up and the less meaningful the differentials between institutions become." However, Baty wrote that the rankings would include 200 institutions that fall immediately outside the official top 200 according to its data and methodology, but this "best of the rest" list from 201 to 400 would be unranked and listed alphabetically. Baty wrote that the magazine intentionally only ranks around 1 percent of the world's universities in a recognition that "not every university should aspire to be one of the global research elite." However, the 2015/16 edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks 800 universities, while Phil Baty announced that the 2016/17 edition, to be released on 21 September 2016, will rank "980 universities from 79 countries". The methodology of the rankings was changed during the 2011-12 rankings process, with details of the changed methodology here. Phil Baty, the rankings editor, has said that the THE World University Rankings are the only global university rankings to examine a university's teaching environment, as others focus purely on research. Baty has also written that the THE World University Rankings are the only rankings to put arts and humanities and social sciences research on an equal footing to the sciences. However, this claim is no longer true. In 2015, QS introduced faculty area normalization to their QS World University Rankings, ensuring that citations data was weighted in a way that prevented universities specializing in the Life Sciences and Engineering from receiving undue advantage. In November 2014, the magazine announced further reforms to the methodology after a review by parent company TES Global. The major change being all institutional data collection would be bought in house severing the connection with
Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters Corporation () is a Canadian-American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple cou ...
. In addition, research publication data would now be sourced from
Elsevier Elsevier () is a Netherlands-based publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journals such as ''The Lancet'' and ''Cell ...

Elsevier
's
Scopus Scopus is Elsevier Elsevier () is a Netherlands-based information and analytics company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content. It is a part of the RELX Group, known until 2015 as Reed Elsevier. Its products include journ ...
database.


Reception

The reception to the methodology was varied. Ross Williams of the
Melbourne Institute The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (often simply referred to as "The Melbourne Institute") is an Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprisi ...
, commenting on the 2010–2011 draft, stated that the proposed methodology would favour more focused "science-based institutions with relatively few undergraduates" at the expense of institutions with more comprehensive programmes and undergraduates, but also stated that the indicators were "academically robust" overall and that the use of scaled measures would reward productivity rather than overall influence.Andrew Trounson,
Science bias will affect local rankings
(9 June 2010). ''
The Australian ''The Australian'' and its Saturday edition, the ''Weekend Australian'', is a broadsheet newspaper published by News Corp Australia since 14 July 1964.Sincliar, John. "Political economy and discourse in Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Austra ...
''.
Steve SmithStephen, Steve, Stevie, Stevin, or Steven Smith may refer to: Academics *Steve Smith (political scientist) (born 1952), British international relations theorist and senior university manager *Stephen Smith (journalist) (born 1956), American journal ...
, president of
Universities UK Universities UK is an advocacy organisation for universities in the United Kingdom. It began life as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom (CVCP) in the nineteenth century when there were informa ...
, praised the new methodology as being "less heavily weighted towards subjective assessments of reputation and uses more robust citation measures," which "bolsters confidence in the evaluation method."
David Willetts David Linsay Willetts, Baron Willetts, (born 9 March 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician and life peer. From 1992 to 2015, he was the Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who liv ...

David Willetts
, British Minister of State for Universities and Science praised the rankings, noting that "reputation counts for less this time, and the weight accorded to quality in teaching and learning is greater."Global path for the best of British
" (16 September 2010). ''Times Higher Education'' World University Rankings.
In 2014, David Willetts became chair of the TES Global Advisory Board, responsible for providing strategic advice to Times Higher Education.


Criticism

Times Higher Education places a high importance on citations to generate rankings. Citations as a metric for effective education is problematic in many ways, placing universities who do not use English as their primary language at a disadvantage. Because English has been adopted as the international language for most academic societies and journals, citations and publications in a language different from English are harder to come across. Thus, such a methodology is criticized for being inappropriate and not comprehensive enough. A second important disadvantage for universities of non-English tradition is that within the disciplines of social sciences and humanities the main tool for publications are books which are not or only rarely covered by digital citations records.
Times Higher Education ''Times Higher Education'' (''THE''), formerly ''The Times Higher Education Supplement'' (''THES''), is a magazine reporting specifically on news and issues related to higher education. Ownership TPG Capital acquired TSL Education from Charterh ...
has also been criticized for its strong bias towards institutions that taught 'hard science' and had high quality output of research in these fields, often to the disadvantage of institutions focused on other subjects like the social sciences and humanities. For instance in the former
THE-QS World University Rankings ''QS World University Rankings'' is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Previously known as ''Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings'', the publisher had collaborated with ''Times Higher Educat ...
, the London School of Economics (LSE) was ranked 11th in the world in 2004 and 2005, but dropped to 66th and 67th in the 2008 and 2009 edition. In January 2010, THE concluded the method employed by
Quacquarelli SymondsQuacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a British company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world. The company was founded in 1990 by Nunzio Quacquarelli. History On 5 October 2017, QS Quacquarelli Symonds acquired Hobso ...
, who conducted the survey on their behalf, was flawed in such a way that bias was introduced against certain institutions, including LSE. A representative of
Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters Corporation () is a Canadian-American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple cou ...
, THE's new partner, commented on the controversy: "''LSE stood at only 67th in the last Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings – some mistake surely? Yes, and quite a big one''." Nonetheless, after the change of data provider to Thomson Reuters the following year, LSE fell to 86th place, with the ranking described by a representative of Thomson Reuters as 'a fair reflection of their status as a world class university'. LSE despite being ranked continuously near the top in its national rankings, has been placed below other British universities in the Times Higher Education World Rankings in recent years, other institutions such as
Sciences Po The Paris Institute of Political Studies (french: Institut d'études politiques de Paris), commonly referred to as Sciences Po Paris or just Sciences Po (), is a ''Grandes écoles, grande école'' and ''grands établissements, grand établisseme ...
have suffered due to the inherent methodology bias still used.
Trinity College Dublin , name_Latin = Collegium Sanctae et Individuae Trinitatis Reginae Elizabethae juxta Dublin , motto = ''Perpetuis futuris temporibus duraturam'' (Latin) , motto_lang = la , motto_English = It will last in ...

Trinity College Dublin
's ranking in 2015 and 2016 was lowered by a basic mistake in data it had submitted; education administrator Bahram Bekhradnia said the fact this went unnoticed evinced a "very limited checking of data" "on the part of those who carry out such rankings". Bekhradnia also opined "while Trinity College was a respected university which could be relied upon to provide honest data, unfortunately that was not the case with all universities worldwide." In general it is not clear who the rankings are made for. Many students, especially the undergraduate students, are not interested in the scientific work of a facility of higher education. Also the price of the education has no effects on the ranking. That means that private universities on the North American continent are compared to the European universities. Many European countries like France, Sweden or Germany for example have a long tradition on offering free education within facilities of higher education. In 2021, the
University of Tsukuba is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of ...
in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, was alleged to have submitted falsified data on the number of international students enrolled at the university to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The discovery resulted in an investigation by THE and the provision of guidance to the university on the submission of data, however, it also led to the criticism amongst faculty members of the ease with which THE's ranking system could be abused. The matter was discussed in Japan's National Diet on April 21, 2021. Seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Mumbai, Delhi, Kanpur, Guwahati, Madras, Roorkee and Kharagpur) have boycotted THE rankings from 2020. These IITs have not participated in the rankings citing concerns over transparency.


World rankings


Young universities

In addition, ''THE'' also provides ''150 Under 50 Universities'' with different weightings of indicators to accredit the growth of institutions that are under 50 years old. In particular, the ranking attaches less weight to reputation indicators. For instance, the
University of Canberra The University of Canberra (UC) is a public university in Bruce, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The campus is within walking distance of Westfield Belconnen, and distance to Canberra's Civic Centre. UC offers undergraduate Undergra ...
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
, established in 1990 placed at 50 of 150 Under 50 Universities.


Subject

Various academic disciplines are sorted into six categories in ''THEs subject rankings: "
Art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what constitutes art, and i ...

Art
s &
Humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classic ...

Humanities
"; " Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health"; ""; "
Life Sciences This list of life sciences comprises the branches of science The branches of science, also referred to as science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, build ...
"; "
Physical Sciences Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies abiotic component, non-living systems, in contrast to life science. It in turn has many branches, each referred to as a "physical science", together called the "physical sciences". ...
"; and "
Social Sciences Social science is the branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part of the central tru ...

Social Sciences
".


World Reputation Rankings

''THE'' ''World Reputation Rankings'' serve as a subsidiary of the overall league tables and rank universities independently in accordance with their scores in prestige. Scott Jaschik of
Inside Higher Ed ''Inside Higher Ed'' is a media company and online publication that provides news, opinion, resources, events and jobs focused on Higher education, college and university topics. Quad Partners has a controlling interest in the publication. ''In ...
said of the new rankings: "...Most outfits that do rankings get criticised for the relative weight given to reputation as opposed to objective measures. While Times Higher Education does overall rankings that combine various factors, it is today releasing rankings that can't be criticised for being unclear about the impact of reputation – as they are strictly of reputation."


Regional rankings


Asia

From 2013 to 2015, the outcomes of the ''Times Higher Education'' ''Asia University Rankings'' were the same as the Asian universities' position on its World University Rankings. In 2016, the Asia University Rankings was revamped and it "use the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings, but have been recalibrated to reflect the attributes of Asia's institutions."


Emerging Economies

The ''Times Higher Education'' ''Emerging Economies Rankings'' (Formerly known as BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings) only includes universities in countries classified as "emerging economies" by
FTSE Group FTSE International Limited trading as FTSE Russell () is a British provider of stock market indices and associated data services, wholly owned by the London Stock Exchange London Stock Exchange is a stock exchange in the City of London ...
, including the "
BRICS BRICS is the acronym coined to associate five major Emerging market, emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs. Since 2009, the governments ...

BRICS
" nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) (), is a metropolitan area and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of the China, People's Repu ...

Hong Kong
institutions are not included in this ranking.


Notes


References


External links


''Times Higher Education World University Rankings'' websiteTimes Higher Education - World University Rankings 2016Times Higher Education - BRICS and Emerging Economies University Rankings 2016Times Higher Education - University Rankings by Subject 2016
– ''''
University rankings: UK 'a stand-out performer'
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of ...

BBC

Interactive maps comparing the Times Higher Education, Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings
{{University ranking systems University and college rankings 2010 introductions