IREG Forum in Warsaw – a post conference note
(Warsaw, 18 May 2013) Over 130 experts on university rankings and representatives and academic community from 32 countries met in Warsaw 16-17 May 2013 at the IREG Forum on University Rankings – Methodologies under scrutiny. The conference was organized by the IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and the Perspektywy Education Foundation in cooperation with the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Opening the Forum Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory pointed out to the usefulness of university ranking as information, assessment and transparency tool. In the keynote speech Michal Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences stressed the importance of good data and quality information both for rankings and for the higher education. Forum’s sessions were chaired by: Andrea Bonaccorsi (Italy), Waldemar Siwinski (Poland), Nian Cai Liu (China), Klaus Huefner (Germany) and Alex Usher (Canada).
The underlining philosophy of the Forum in Warsaw was that rankings can be only as good as the methodologies behind them are. Consequently both presentations and discussions focused on various aspects of methodologies used in making of rankings. The timing for discussion on this feature of ranking was perfectly chosen considering a number of important new initiatives emerging in the ranking field like U-Multirank in Europe (presented by Gero Federkeil) or Folha's University Ranking in Brasil (presented by Sabine Righetti).
Another specific feature of the IREG Forum was special session with panelists representing institutions from several countries with different higher education systems. The panelists Sergey Tunik (Saint Petersburg University), Stanislaw Kistryn (Jagiellonian University), Lars Uhlin (Lund University), Mukash Burkitbayev (Al-Farabi University), Mircea Dumitru (University of Bucaresti) and Ladislav Nagy (University Babes-Bolyai) commented rankings as they are seen from the university’s perspective. The organizers introduced this session to give voice to those who are subject of rankings but rarely have a chance say what they think about the rankings, how they asses rankings’ positive and negative sides.
An active role in the Forum program played a group representing Polish universities, including Marcin Palys, Rector of University of the Warsaw and Wladyslaw Wieczorek, Vice Rector of the Warsaw University of Technology. The two Warsaw universities also hosted the Conference Dinner. The Frederic Chopin Institute was Forum's partner. Elsevier BV publishing house was the sponsor of the IREG Forum.
Over the past three years IREG Observatory has worked on the idea of ranking audit and at the Forum the first ranking audit results were announced. Two rankings, national and international, Perspektywy University Ranking (Poland) and the QS World University Rankings were granted the right to use the quality certificate “IREG Approved”. Jan Sadlak, IREG President and Klaus Huefner, IREG Audit Coordinator handed the certificates to Ben Sowter of the QS Inteligence Unit and Waldemar Siwinski, President of the Perspektywy Education Foundation.
IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence is an association of ranking organizations, universities and other organizations, interested in the improvement of the quality of rankings and quality of higher education in general. IREG Observatory was established in 2009. The number of its members have grown from nine to 34 since then and new applications are pending.
The IREG Observatory and QS Intelligence Unit invite to the IREG-7 Conference Employability and Academic Rankings – Reflections and Impacts, to be held in London, 14-15 May 2014.