12 May 2018

Universitas 21 is an international network of research intensive universities in Australia, Canada, Chile, China (including Hong Kong), India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and the USA. The network supports various initiatives concerned with educational innovation, the student experience and researcher engagement. Currently it sponsors data sharing and health management groups and publishes annual rankings of higher education systems.

The systems rankings are based on four groups of indicators:

  • Resources including government expenditure and total expenditure on tertiary education, annual expenditure per student, and expenditure for research and development per head of population and as per cent of GDP
  • Environment including proportion of female students and academic staff, qualitative measures of the policy environment, and responses to survey questions
  • Connectivity including proportion of international students and articles with international collaborators, Webometrics Visibility rankings, responses to survey questions, and research collaboration with industry.
  • Output including total research documents and research documents per population, normalised citation impacts, number of universities in the Shanghai ARWU per population, rank of the country’s best universities, enrolment, percentage of adults with tertiary qualifications, number, number of researchers and employment rates.

There have been some minor methodological changes since last year. For example, research data is derived from InCites instead of Scimago, institutions with few published papers are now included, and web connectivity is measured by the Webometrics Visibility metric rather than Transparency.

The top five countries overall are:

  1. USA
  2. Switzerland
  3. UK
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark

Controlling for level of economic development the top five are:

  1. Finland
  2. UK
  3. Serbia
  4. Denmark
  5. Sweden

There are a few significant changes since last year. Finland, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia and Brazil rose three places each while Ukraine, Serbia, Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Singapore fell three places. The biggest loser was Hungary which fell from 31st place to 36th.

U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems

IREG Initiatives

The purpose of "IREG Inventory of International Rankings" is to collect and make available on the IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence website information on the current state and scope of this important group of rankings.


National and international academic rankings play ever increasing role as a barometer of quality of higher education institutions. The purpose of "IREG Inventory of National Rankings" is to collect and make available on the IREG Observatory website information on the current state and scope of this important group of rankings.


With the fast development of science and technology, as well as the internationalization of scientific activities, international academic awards have been more and more popular and influential. Numerous international academic awards have been established to provide individuals with incentives and motivation for new academic work and to reward past excellent academic accomplishments.


The purpose of the IREG Ranking Audit, conducted by independent experts, is to verify and attest that ranking under review is done professionally, with a transparent methodology, observes good practices and responds to a need for relevant information of various stakeholders, in particular students, higher education institutions, employers and policy makers.


The purpose of the IREG Guidelines for Stakeholders of Academic Rankings is to provide recommendations for appropriate interpretations, uses and applications of rankings by potential interested parties, including students and parents, institutions of higher education, policymakers, quality assurance and funding organizations, employers and the media. Specific recommendations have been formulated for each group of stakeholders.


News from IREG Members

Building university visibility - Ranking conference in Poland

„Perspektywy” Education Foundation in close cooperation with the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP) and the Polish Accreditation Commission organized a conference “Polish Universities in International Perspective - Rankings and Strategic Management of a University”. The third conference under the same title was held in Warsaw on 3rd and 4th December 2018.

Moscow Third University Mission Conference

"The Third University Mission" international conference, dedicated to the cooperation between universities and society  attended by over 260 delegates from 23 countries was held in Moscow November 30 and December 1. The conference was timed to the release of the new issue of Moscow International University Ranking "The Three University Missions". The conference was chaired by Viktor Sadovnichy, Rector of the Lomonosov University and Waldemar Siwinski, Vice President of IREG Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence. "The Moscow Ranking opens a new generation of academic rankings", said Luiz Claudio Costa, President of IREG Observatory, honorary guest of the Conference.  "Almost all of the existing rankings are based mainly on indicators of research and institutional reputation. It is time for a new generation of rankings that try to look more closely to the link between university and society."

The 4th International Workshop on UI GreenMetric World University Rankings (IWGM)

UI GreenMetric World University Rankings is pleased to hold The 4th International Workshop on UI GreenMetric (IWGM) in collaboration with Universitas Diponegoro on 8-10 April 2018. The venue for the event will be in Universitas Diponegoro, Tembalang, Semarang, Indonesia.

This year’s International Workshop on UI GreenMetric will address the theme of “Universities, Impacts and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” and provide the forum to share the best practices in creating a sustainable condition in universities. The attendees will be senior officers (rectors, vice-rectors, sustainability directors, deans, directors, respectful professors) from participating universities which have shown outstanding performance in 2018 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings, environment experts, student leaders and other participants The workshop is expected to offer a platform for exchanging information and cooperation in dealing with sustainability issues.

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