Shanghai Subject Rankings: A Tripolar Research World

The Shanghai Ranking Consultancy have published the latest edition of their Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS). A total of 54 subjects in Natural Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences. There are no rankings for the arts or humanities

The methodology is based on the following indicators with weightings that are adjusted for subject:

  • Q1; Articles with Q1 Journal Impact Factor
  • CNCI; Category Normalised Citation Impact for the period 2016 – 2020
  • IC; International Collaboration as measured by the proportion of papers with an international collaborator
  • TOP; Number of papers in top journals
  • AWARD; International awards won by staff since 1981

The rankings show that the world of research is dominated by three areas: China, Western Europe, and the USA, especially Massachusetts and the West Coast.

Engineering is dominated by China and the USA, while the American universities continue to lead in the Medical Sciences. In the Social, Life, and Natural Sciences European and US institutions hold a dominating position, although Hong Kong Polytechnic University is in first place for Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The rankings show that at subject level there have been some dramatic changes over the last few years. In Aerospace Engineering, the top university in 2017 was Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT) and there were only two Chinese institutions in the top ten. This year Beihang holds the top spot, followed by Northwestern Polytechnical University and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, while GIT has fallen to 12th place. In 2017 Princeton was the world leader for mathematics: now it is Paris-Saclay with Princeton is second and Sorbonne University third.



Shanghai Ranking

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