Elsevier has issued an updated (August 10) edition of its guide to university rankings for research leaders. It contains some basic information that might be helpful to university administrators and advisors responsible for international policy.
It notes that university rankings are “diverse, imperfect and influential” and includes a list of 19 global rankings. It should be noted that although this is an update, it omits two significant rankings, the Three University Missions Moscow International Rankings and the National Taiwan University Rankings, but includes two rankings rejected by the IREG Inventory of International Rankings.
The guide notes that according to data from QS many international students feel that high quality teaching and reputation are important, attributes that some rankings attempt to measure. However, the current pandemic and the resulting restrictions will mean greater competition for international students. Rankings are likely to become increasingly important as universities struggle to maintain their international presence.
There is a list and description of the methodology of seven of the well-known rankings: CWTS Leiden, Shanghai Rankings (ARWU), THE World and Impact Rankings, QS World and Subject Rankings, and the US News Best Global Universities.
The guide concludes by suggesting some steps that institutions could take to improve their performance in the rankings. These are:
- Determine which rankings reflect you
- Stay informed of the methodology
- Monitor progress on strategic initiatives.