The Times Higher Education (THE) world rankings have been very popular with the media and administrators of the traditional elite of global academia. They have, however, received little respect from active researchers.
For some time, THE has been planning for a drastic overhaul of its methodology and is talking about World University Rankings (WUR) 3.0. The first version was published in 2004 in collaboration with QS Quacquarelli Symonds of London. The second began in 2010 when THE and QS announced separate world rankings.
It appears that THE are planning a number of changes that will probably cause significant fluctuations and may lead to renewed debate over the reliability and accuracy of global rankings.
Among the proposed changes are the introduction of two new citations metrics, both of which emphasise papers in high impact journals. It seems that this will reduce some of the anomalies that have occurred in recent years when a number of small or little-known universities have achieved high ranks through publications in mega-projects with large numbers of contributors and citations.
The international pillar of the rankings will have a new indicator, outward bound exchange students, and a new method of normalisation will benefit countries with large populations,
In addition to income from industry and commerce, THE will count citations of patents.
The collection and processing of survey data will undergo some significant changes. These include asking survey respondents about their direct experience and prohibiting them from voting for their employers.
These changes will be announced at the forthcoming THE world summit and come into effect for the rankings that will be published in2023.