Elsevier, the leading academic publisher, has just published a report, University rankings: A report for research leaders, on the global ranking scene. The report acknowledges the existence of 19 rankings included in he IREG Inventory of International Rankings and provides a helpful survey and history of internationals rankings since 2003.
Rankings have become very influential over the last few years and they are often used by governments to measure research excellence, to guide students and parents in their choice of universities, to help companies choose collaborators, to decide investment decisions, and to attract international students.
Seven rankings published by five organisations are analysed: the Shanghai Rankings, the QS World University Rankings and Rankings by Subject, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and Impact Rankings, the US News Best Global Universities, and the CWTS Leiden Ranking. The report provides some basic information about goals, scope, data sources, timing of publication, and the content and weighting of the indicators. It is unfortunate that information about other global rankings such as Webometrics, U-Multirank, or the Round University Rankings is not provided.
The report concludes by indicating a number of steps that university research leaders might take to improve their performance in the rankings including selecting rankings that align with the university’s mission and goals and creating a data-hygiene plan to review and provide research information to the relevant databases.