21 September 2018
Alex Hayman, Managing Director of Which?University, has published an article in wonkHE about UK universities misusing the results of rankings in their advertising. He refers to six cases: Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Aston University, the University of Aberdeen, Newcastle University, Ulster University, and the University of the West of Scotland.The universities have responded differently. Heriot-Watt has stood by its claim that it is “one of the world’s leading universities for pioneering research informed by the needs of business and industry” and Ulster University insists that it is in the top 3% of the world’s universities, based on a total 26,000 universities in the world.
The University of the West of Scotland also says that it has data indicating that it is in the top 3% of the world’s universities. Aston University, on the other hand, has agreed to remove a statement that it is “ranked within the top 35 universities in all university ranking tables” while Newcastle University has deleted from its website a reference to being in the top 1%.
The University of Aberdeen has indicated that it will provide information to support its assertion that it is “ranked consistently among the world’s top universities.”
The article comes less than a year after the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK rebuked several universities for misleading statements about their position in various rankings.