THE World University Rankings Introduce New Methodology

Times Higher Education (THE) has just announced the latest edition of its world rankings. This has been billed as WUR 3.0 as there is now a new and very different methodology.

The rankings are now based on 18 indicators. There are three more measures of citations, research strength, research excellence, and research quality. This is in addition to field weighted normalised citations, which have been reduced to a 15% weighting from 30%.

The Industry Income indicator has been expanded by adding patents and has become the Industry indicator. A new indicator, study abroad, has been added to the international outlook pillar but for now it has a weighting of zero.

The methodology is so different that any comparison with previous years should be made with great caution. Nonetheless, some trends are beginning to emerge.

The top of the rankings continue to be dominated by British and American institutions although Peking University and Tsinghua University are getting close to the top ten. The top five overall are University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and University of Cambridge.

North American universities have generally improved, particularly in the industry pillar which now has a section for citation of patents, as have universities in France, Switzerland, and Japan. Australia and New Zealand have declined, probably because of restrictions on international research collaboration during the pandemic.

For Dutch universities the new methodology has had mixed effects. Delft University of Technology has risen from 70th to 48th place while Wageningen University has fallen from 59th to 64th. This year the University of Utrecht is not there at all, apparently having refused to submit data.



Times Higher Education

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