Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as Shanghai Ranking, is an annual publication of university rankings by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The league table was originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2003, the first global ranking with multifarious indicators, after which a board of international advisories was established to provide suggestions. The publication now comprises the world's overall and subject league tables, alongside independent regional Greater China Ranking and Macedonian HEIs Ranking. ARWU is regarded as one of the most widely observed university measures. It is praised for its objective methodology but draws some condemnation for undermining humanities and quality of instruction.
ARWU is praised by several media and institutions for its methodology and influence. A survey on higher education published by The Economist in 2005 commented ARWU as "the most widely used annual ranking of the world's research universities." In 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education called ARWU "the best-known and most influential global ranking of universities". EU Research Headlines reported the ARWU's work on 31 December 2003: "The universities were carefully evaluated using several indicators of research performance." Chancellor of Oxford University, Chris Patten and former Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University, Ian Chubb, said: "the methodology looks fairly solid ... it looks like a pretty good stab at a fair comparison." and "The SJTU rankings were reported quickly and widely around the world… (and they) offer an important comparative view of research performance and reputation." respectively. Philip G. Altbach named ARWU's 'consistency, clarity of purpose, and transparency' as significant strengths.
Like all the other rankings, ARWU has criticism as well. It is condemned for "relying too much on award factors" thus undermining the importance of quality of instruction and humanities. A 2007 paper published in the journal Scientometrics found that the results from the Shanghai rankings could not be reproduced from raw data using the method described by Liu and Cheng. A 2013 paper in the same journal finally showed how the Shanghai ranking results could be reproduced. In a report from April 2009, J-C. Billaut, D. Bouyssou and Ph. Vincke analyse how the ARWU works, using their insights as specialists of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). Their main conclusions are that the criteria used are not relevant; that the aggregation methodology has a number of major problems; and that insufficient attention has been paid to fundamental choices of criteria. The ARWU researchers themselves, N.C Liu and Y Cheng, think that the quality of universities cannot be precisely measured by mere numbers and any ranking must be controversial. They suggest that university and college rankings should be used with caution and their methodologies must be understood clearly before reporting or using the results. ARWU has been criticised by the European Commission as well as some EU member states for "favour[ing] Anglo-Saxon higher education institutions". For instance, ARWU is repeatedly criticised in France, where it triggers an annual controversy, focusing on its ill-adapted character to the French academic system.
As it may take much time for rising universities to produce Nobel laureates and Fields Medalists with numbers comparable to those of older institutions, the Shanghai institute created an alternative ranking excluding such award factors so as to provide another way of comparisons of academic performance. The weighting of all the other factors remains unchanged, thus the grand total of 70%.
There are two categories in ARWU's disciplinary rankings, broad subject fields and specific subjects. The methodology is similar to that adopted in the overall table, including award factors, paper citation, and the number of highly cited scholars.
^"About Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. Since 2009 the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has been published and copyrighted by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.
^"Shanghai rankings rattle European universities". ABS-CBN Interactive. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2015. France's higher education minister travelled to Jiaotong University's suburban campus last month to discuss the rankings, the Norwegian education minister came last year and the Danish minister is due to visit next month.; The idea for the rankings was born in 1998, when Beijing decreed China needed several world-leading universities.
^ abc"University rankings: which world university rankings should we trust?". The Telegraph. 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015. It is a remarkably stable list, relying on long-term factors such as the number of Nobel Prize-winners a university has produced, and number of articles published in Nature and Science journals. But with this narrow focus comes drawbacks. China's priority was for its universities to 'catch up' on hard scientific research. So if you're looking for raw research power, it's the list for you. If you're a humanities student, or more interested in teaching quality? Not so much.
^ abcIndira Samarasekera & Carl Amrhein. "Top schools don't always get top marks". The Edmonton Journal. There are currently three major international rankings that receive widespread commentary: The Academic World Ranking of Universities, the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education Rankings.
^Philip G. Altbach (11 November 2010). "The State of the Rankings". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 27 January 2015. The major international rankings have appeared in recent months — the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the QS World University Rankings, and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE).
^"A world of opportunity". The Economics. 8 September 2005. Retrieved 30 January 2015. It is no accident that the most widely used annual ranking of the world's research universities, the Shanghai index, is produced by a Chinese university.
^Philip G. Altbach (11 September 2010). "The State of the Rankings". INSIDE HIGHER ED. Retrieved 30 January 2015. Nonetheless, AWRU's consistency, clarity of purpose, and transparency are significant advantages.