Malaysian Research and the Drive for Ranking Success

In recent years, Malaysian universities have reported some success in global and regional rankings. Leading national institutions such as Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, and Universiti Putra Malaysia have performed well in the QS rankings while a private university, Universiti Tunku Abbul Rahman (UTAR), has achieved a remarkable score for research impact in the THE rankings. Malaysia has, however, done less well in other rankings and Universitas 21 has noted a disturbing gap between the country’s resources and its educational outputs.

A new report by the Malaysian Ministry of Education, QS Analytic Services and Elsevier, “Malaysia: Knowledge Destination for Research Excellence,” has charted the substantial advance by the Malaysian research sector and its contribution to successful participation in in the world rankings.

There has been a considerable increase in the numbers of researchers and also in the financial resources available. This, according to the report, is reflected in the country’s performance in the QS World University Rankings. There were six Malaysian universities in the world’s top 20 in 2016 and 20 in 2020, with one of them reaching the top 100.

The number of articles and reviews published increased significantly from 2014 to 2018 and citation impact scores are now close to the global average, and higher in subjects such as medicine, physics and astronomy, and veterinary science.

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