Talk:Rankings of universities in the United Kingdom

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Something substantial to add to the Criticisms section[edit]

Below is University College London's President and Provost concise and poignant opinion on university league tables. I think it should be added to the article's Criticisms section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Continuous changes of the article by one dominant person[edit]

Ragoon directly and indirectly (through IP address) became the dominant editor of the article not allowing other members of Wikipedia to make changes. This user is trying to eliminate importance of the British league tables by putting more emphasis on international rankings. This article is about the British system of ranking and disparity with international rankings must be clearly identified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:29, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Firstly I don't appreciate the way in which you immediately accused me of violating the policies of Wikipedia on my talk page.
The edits which you wish to make to this page reflect clear original research and are not neutral in point of view. You have a clear point of view about the deficiencies of international league tables and the strengths of domestic league tables which you are trying to promote via this article. There is nothing wrong per se with a reference in this article about international league tables and how they vary from domestic league tables. However that reference must be in a neutral and encycopedic form.
A very neutral reference to international league tables in my view seems appropriate for the opening as it brings these to the attention of many readers who may otherwise be unaware of them. The reference as it stands makes no comment on the relative quality of international versus domestic league tables (unlike your new paragraph, which clearly does) but merely says that they exist. Since you have now introduced a full paragraph in the main article about international league tables, you have actually made the argument for such a reference in the opening stronger.
Why do you keep attempting to introduce the word 'prestige' in the first paragraph? This is a clear case of POV and is not cited.
I am very happy to discuss how we can best deal with these issues. I appreciate that this article is one which touches upon controversial issues but the best way of dealing with this, in my view, is to try to keep the article as neutral and factual as possible.Rangoon11 (talk) 12:43, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Firstly thanks for your contributions to this article, you made significant improvements since it was created. At the same time, your continuous changes without accepting views of other participants (and not discussing with them) made me act in such a way. ::: As all of members of Wikipedia, I would like to make this article as neutral and encyclopaedic as possible.
After reading your arguments in favour of mentioning world rankings I agree with you. However, I think it's sensible to make it as short as feasible, e.g." Due to the different methodologies and purposes of the rankings, British university rankings differ widely from global university rankings". There is no need to say more about measure because they will be covered in a new section.
I disagree with you that we cannot use "prestige" and "teaching quality". If it were just listing of institution, I would agree that wording "inform about UK universities " could be acceptable. However, it's a ranking so it assumes it shows perceived reputation / standing / teaching quality. There is a very good reference to "Facts and Figures about League Tables" by Edinburgh University (which you removed somehow) that says "it's clear that rankings can have a significant impact on the reputation and perceived standing of institutions" So based on that I believe we can use reputation / standing / teaching quality.
I don't want to show better quality of national rankings, however, I would to demonstrate a clear difference between ranking systems. Honestly, I'm not very happy with current wording because it uses many biased phrases. At the same time, I would like to show clear differences why domestic order if universities is so different from international one. If you have any ideas about that, let me know. There are a couple of good paragraphs from the link mentioned above so we can use them as well.

"To construct World rankings, however, compilers have to use measures that translate as reliably as possible across different countries/regions - i.e. for which comparable data, which are not inextricably linked to national prosperity or other local/regional issues, can be found. For this reason, the measures used in the World University rankings are quite different to those used for UK rankings and cover prizewinner affiliations, research bibliometrics, student:faculty ratio, peer review responses, and percentage international students/staff.

Ranking methodologies have always been open to criticism due to the inherent arbitrary nature of weighting scores from different measures and then summing these to give an overall measure of ‘quality’. Some measures are also more controversial and open to bias (e.g. by institution size/subject profile/location etc) than others." (talk) 10:24, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

First off let me say that I appreciate you discussing this article and your thoughts about it constructively. For what it's worth let me also say that I accept that all university rankings (both domestic and global) are imperfect.
After mulling it over I'm happy for the new section in the article which you have introduced to both remain and to be separate (rather than as a sub-section of 'Criticism of the rankings concept'). I accept that the paragraph is not purely a criticism of rankings per se and does justify a separate section. However I propose that it be titled 'Comparison with global rankings' as this is both more neutral and more encompassing of the content of the new section.
Regarding the second paragraph of the opening of the article I still feel that it was fine as it was and that it was very neutral and purely factual. However, since the new section which you have introduced will include some of the details which were in that paragraph I accept that it can be shortened slightly to avoid duplication. I therefore propose the following wording:
"British university rankings differ widely from global university rankings such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities, QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which use different methodologies and have a different purpose.[1][2][3]"
I do have a fundamental issue with the use of the word 'prestige' in the first paragraph. I accept that prestigious universities tend to feature at the top of league tables, and that a consistently high ranking in league tables may increase the prestige of a university over time (and vice-versa), however prestige is a highly subjective characteristic as applied to universities. There are examples of institutions which, in my view at least, are not particularly prestigious but have been ranked highly in certain league tables. For example Lancaster is ranked sixth in the current Guardian league table. Equally, King's College London is only ranked 25th in the same table. I make no comment on the actual quality of either Lancaster or King's, but am certain that King's is generally seen as more prestigious than Lancaster, both in the UK and overseas. League tables do not, in my view, measure university prestige.
I have no issue with the insertion of a reference to teaching quality in the first paragraph, which I propose could be inserted as follows (bold to show change only):
"League tables of British universities are published annually by The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Times. The primary aim of the rankings is to inform potential undergraduate applicants about UK universities based on a range of criteria, including entry standards, student satisfaction, staff/student ratio, academic services and facilities expenditure per student, teaching and research quality, proportion of Firsts and 2:1s, completion rates and student destinations.[4][5] All of the league tables also rank universities on their strength in individual subjects."
Regarding your proposed wording for the 'new' section, I suggest the following amendments:
"Global university rankings differ from British university rankings in both purpose and methodology. Whilst British university rankings are primarily designed to measure the quality of the undergraduate experience, global rankings are primarily designed to measure the quality of institutions as a whole. The compilers of global university rankings are more restricted in the criteria which they can use to compile their rankings, as they are limited to criteria which translate reliably across different countries and regions and for which comparable data is available. For these reasons, the criteria used to compile global university rankings are very different to those used for British university rankings."
After this paragraph I suggest a further paragraph which, very briefly, describes the criteria used in each of the three main global rankings (since these are each different, although the paragraph above applies equally to all three).
Did you intend the following paragraph to be in the same section, or to go in the existing 'Criticism of the rankings concept' section?
"Ranking methodologies have always been open to criticism due to the inherent arbitrary nature of weighting scores from different measures and then summing these to give an overall measure of ‘quality’. Some measures are also more controversial and open to bias (e.g. by institution size/subject profile/location etc) than others."
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the above. Rangoon11 (talk) 20:07, 30 September 2010 (UTC)
Rangoon11, I completely agree with the lead paragraph, except the word "undergraduate". There are several indicators (such as research output, Staff / student ratio, spending on facilities) which cover both undergraduate and graduate students. So it's better to leave just "potential applicants".
For the same reason "measure of the undergraduate experience" will not be completely correct wording. I would suggest the following: "Whilst British university rankings are primarily designed to measure the quality of the domestic student experience, global rankings are essentially constructed to assess the quality of national education systems and institutions on a worldwide scale"
The last paragraph better fits the criticism section. All the other suggestions and changes are fine. Very well done. (talk) 17:25, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Cambridge fares better?[edit]

For the fifth consecutive year Oxford has been placed first in the United Kingdom in the Times Good University Guide (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 (sic)).[6] Further, is the Times Good University Guide not the most respected guide? I just wonder if there is a bit of pro-Cambridge casuistry going on with this argument about the Times GUG concentrating more weight on central funding and hence under-estimating Cambridge. Oxford has the monopoly on Jesuitical practices!-- 01:55, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

The Sutton Trust results should be used as they constitute a formal calculation. Please don't alter or delete.

I have re-introduced Southampton which was ranked higher than either Bristol or Edinburgh, and was just 1 point below Bath (Sunday Times league table, 2002).

But Southampton only did well in the Sunday Times table. It does not usually make the top 20 in any other tables.

Isnt the Sunday times and the Times league tables the same? MikeyB! 20:21, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Have to agree there's a pro-Cambridge bias in this article... it's rather blatant!

The Times and Sunday Times produce different rankings. Personally id say the ST ones are slightly better but either is infinitely more reliable than the ludicrous Grauniad effort. I do find it suspicious that Oxford can be so consistently ranked no.1 overall when it is nowhere near Cambridge in terms of number of subjects for which it is ranked as no.1 . siarach 18:07, 20 August 2006 (UTC)


  1. ^ "About ARWU". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2010". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Global rankings system methodology reflects universities’ core missions". Times Higher Education. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Guardian University League Table 2011 – Methodology". London: The Guardian. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "The University League Table methodology 2011". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "In the scrum for places, is your university a winner?". The Times. 5 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-29. 

Oxford and Cambridge[edit]

The article claims that their top ranking "allows them to attract the best students...". Any evidence for that? I would presume that they would carry on attracting the best students as they always have with or without league tables!Billlion 06:03, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Sutton trust top 13[edit]

Ive noticed this is not sourced or citied, nor can I find on the web this calculation both from search engines, or from the sutton trust site itself. 04:51, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I remember reading it in the papers so it is true but i will try and find a citation for it. 22:47, 15 August 2007 (UTC) - the table listed her are what the sutton trust considers the top 13 22:52, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

How many criteria for Guardian rankings?[edit]

The text says "six" but seven are listed as bullets - it's a bit confusing. Any idea which is correct? (talk) 00:19, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Guardian section[edit]

"The Guardian league table has a peculiar habit of ranking quite highly courses given by departments that have recently closed down. For example mathematics at Bangor[22] which closed in 2006 was rated fifth in the UK in the "2008" league table, Hull also did reasonably well considering it too no longer had a mathematics department or degree.[23] The Guardian later published a correction.[24]"

I'm not so sure that to say "the Guardian league table has a peculiar habit of ranking quite highly...." is particularly encyclopedic - to me it comes across as a slightly snide remark...

--Maxjjazz (talk) 13:14, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I have removed it, it was trivial and undue in any case, and not really a criticism of the ranking merely an error in one in a single year.Rangoon11 (talk) 13:17, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Strange "The Sunday Times" rankings[edit]

Could someone explain why Heriot-Watt University does not appear in the last year's "The Sunday Times University Guide" as the 29th best university in the UK? This year it was announced as the best Scottish university for the second year in a row and as the fourth best UK university. Yet there is no mention of this in this article at all. Here is a link to BBC which cites the Sunday Times: Heriot-Watt University: Scottish University of the Year I have also received confirmation of this from our Principal (Heriot-Watt). Flamdring (talk) 13:22, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I think you are confusing the student satisfaction ranking with the overall ranking by the Sunday Times, of which the student satisfaction ranking is just one input.Rangoon11 (talk) 17:50, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Content removed in compliance with DMCA[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation (“Wikimedia”) has taken down content posted in this article that was alleged to infringe on a copyright.

You can see their communication here:

Their correspondence relates to material published in the Times Good University Guide and The Sunday Times University Guide.

When someone makes a validly formulated notice of copyright infringement, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) requires Wikimedia to take the content down and to notify the poster that we have removed the content.

If you would like to learn more about Wikimedia’s policies, please refer to the Wikimedia Terms of Use, available at and the Wikimedia Legal Policies, available at More information on DMCA compliance may also be found at:

See also WP:Office.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding this notice.

Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:23, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

The Sunday Times 2014 University Rankings Removed[edit]

I edited in the rankings as of 2014 for the Sunday Times but it says that my content was removed because "someone alleged that your post infringes on a copyright." Can anyone expand as to why? I cited my sources and didn't claim it as mine. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Radiatkit (talkcontribs) 17:33, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

University of Karachi[edit]

Someone has placed the "University of Karachi" as second place in the rankings when it obviously is not. Having looked at the change logs it seems to have happened before as well. I am not well versed enough in Wikipedia editing to make the changes myself, though I suggest someone do it. Cheers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:55, 20 April 2014 (UTC)