30 September 2015.

Last year Times Higher Education (THE) ended its partnership with the media and data giant Thomson Reuters (TR) and began to process and analyse information from the Scopus database and to conduct its own academic reputation survey. In addition, THE have modified the citations indication by excluding several hundred papers with over a thousand authors, most of them in physics, and halved the impact of the regional modification that awarded a bonus to universities in low performing countries.

THE have indicated that the new survey for their World University Rankings was broader and more inclusive than in previous years and that access to Scopus has enabled them to analyse many more publications and citations.

These changes are responsible for a lot of reshuffling in the 2015-16 World University Rankings. At the top, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) remains in first place but Harvard has slipped from second place to sixth and has been overtaken by Oxford, Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Some European universities have done well. ETH Zurich has entered the top ten and the Universities of Warwick, Southampton, Nottingham and Heidelberg have recorded substantial gains as have the Technical University of Munich and Humboldt University Berlin.

Nearly all French institutions have suffered significant losses. École Normale Supérieure has risen but the other star performers of 2014, including École Polytechnique and Université Paris-Sud have fallen.

Some Asian universities have suffered disastrous setbacks. Last year there were four Turkish universities in the top 200. Now there are none. The Korean and Japanese flagships, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) and the Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto have fallen significantly.

Times Higher Education

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