The latest world rankings from the Ranking Web of Universities (Webometrics) have just been announced. These are produced by the Cybermetrics Lab, a group that is part of the Spanish Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and have the unique distinction of ranking anything with the slightest claim to being a university or college. This year the number of ranked institutions has gone past 31,000.
The rankings combine measures of web activity and research. There are now three indicators:
Visibility; number of external networks linking to webpages (weighting 50%)
Transparency/Openness; number of citations from top 210 (minus top 20) authors in Google Scholar Citations (weighting 10%)
Excellence/Scholar; number of papers in the top 10% most cited in 27 disciplines (weighting 40%).
Overall, the rankings appear quite conventional. Harvard is in first place followed by Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, and Oxford. But looking at the specific indicators can give a rather different picture.
In the excellence indicator, Harvard is still in the first place, but Tsinghua University and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are second and third respectively and another five Mainland Chinese universities are in the top fifty for this indicator. Two French institutions, Sorbonne University and Université de Paris, have also risen rapidly.
In the Middle East, an interesting development is the rise of the University of Tehran to fifth place moving ahead of the Saudi flagships and now just behind Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.