Open Data and Global Rankings

Caroline Wagner’s article, originally published in The Conversation and republished in University World News, brings to light a shift in data collection and analysis. This shift, which is likely to enhance the international standing of Chinese universities, is largely attributed to the role of open databases.

The author notes the bias towards Western and English-using universities that results from reliance on databases such as Scopus and Web of Science. She suggests that the global rankings are about to enter a period of upheaval due to the introduction of open databases such as OpenAlex, which include many more journals than the Clarivate indexes, although some of these may be of poor quality.

It is likely that open access will benefit China disproportionately. That country is now graduating much larger numbers of scientists and engineers than the United States and is producing a large proportion of the papers not included in the Web of Science or Scopus.

There are issues of quality that need to be considered, and the author notes that many Chinese publications have been retracted. Even so, the rise of open data and open-access publishing will help Chinese universities to ascend the global rankings rapidly. Already they dominate the default indicator in the CWTS Leiden Ranking.



University World News

The Conversation

The editors decide on the publication of comments on the site.