IREG Forum on Ranking Methodologies

The growing importance of national, regional and global university rankings attracts attention of ever larger group of stakeholders who show interest in how these rankings are made. They also realize that what each ranking tells or does not tell depend on the criteria used. Methodology is like a mirror, we can see in it only as much as the methodology allows.  

What is methodology? According to the classic definition: method is a planned way of doing something. Methodology on the other hand is a set of methods used for study or action in a particular subject, as in science or education.

Ranking methodology represents a broad spectrum of methods; it covers philosophy behind a ranking (what makes a great university?), methods of collection and processing of data, and the way results are published. The desired and recommended set of principles that should be applied while preparing academic rankings were presented in 2006 as the IREG Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions. According to the Berlin Principles every proper metodology should include the following key areas: purpose and goal of a ranking, design and weight of indicators, collection and processing of data, and presentation of the results.

The areas specified by the Berlin Principles are still valid today, however, the growing availability of data related to research and higher education contributes to fast changes in the data analysis and ranking methodologies. It is a high time for a thorough discussion on the evolution of ranking methodologies for the sake not only of ranking analysts but also for the benefit of the stockholders who want to understand the advantages and the shortcomings of various rankings.

The IREG Forum on Ranking Methodologies to be held in Warsaw, Poland 16-17 May 2013 will concentrate on discussion and analysis of various ranking methodologies. It will examine methodologies of the main international and national rankings. A particular attention will be paid to the ways of overcoming the limitations some methodologies are currently facing. One of the sessions will be devoted to the theoretical aspects of econometrics, bibliometrics and statistics used in ranking. There also will be time for presentation of methodologies employed in the new academic rankings under preparation in various regions of the world.

Authors of every ranking face a number of critical questions: How to construct the methodology? How to implement the methodology? How to collect and use the data? When and how to present the results? How to correct the errors? What lessons are learned from errors? The Forum in Warsaw will seek answers to those and other ranking related questions.

The IREG Forum in will be hosted and organized by Perspektywy Education Foundation and IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence as well as other partners.

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