Times Higher Education World University Rankings
|Publisher||Times Higher Education|
|Website||Times Higher Education World University Rankings|
Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by British Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. The publisher had originally collaborated with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) to announce the THE–QS World University Rankings during 2004-09 whose methodology has then been continuously used by QS for its own QS World University Rankings while THE has co-operated with Thomson Reuters and created new indicators. The publication now comprises the world's overall, subject and reputation rankings alongside two regional league tables, Asia and BRICS & Emerging Economies generated by exactly the same criteria. THE World University Rankings is praised for adopting a more objective methodology and viewed as one of the three most influential and widely observed university measures; however, undermining non-English-instructing institutions and being commercialized are the major criticism.
The creation of the original Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings was credited in Ben Wildavsky's book, The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World, to then-editor of Times Higher Education, John O'Leary. Times Higher Education chose to partner with educational and careers advice company QS to supply the data.
After the 2009 rankings, Times Higher Education took the decision to break from QS and signed an agreement with Thomson Reuters to provide the data for its annual World University Rankings from 2010 onwards. The publication developed a new rankings methodology in consultation with its readers, its editorial board and Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters will collect and analyse the data used to produce the rankings on behalf of Times Higher Education. The first ranking was published in September 2010.
Commenting on Times Higher Education's decision to split from QS, former editor Ann Mroz said: "universities deserve a rigorous, robust and transparent set of rankings – a serious tool for the sector, not just an annual curiosity." She went on to explain the reason behind the decision to continue to produce rankings without QS' involvement, saying that: "The responsibility weighs heavy on our shoulders...we feel we have a duty to improve how we compile them."
Phil Baty, editor of the new Times Higher Education World University Rankings, admitted in Inside Higher Ed: "The rankings of the world's top universities that my magazine has been publishing for the past six years, and which have attracted enormous global attention, are not good enough. In fact, the surveys of reputation, which made up 40 percent of scores and which Times Higher Education until recently defended, had serious weaknesses. And it's clear that our research measures favored the sciences over the humanities."
He went on to describe previous attempts at peer review as "embarrassing" in The Australian: "The sample was simply too small, and the weighting too high, to be taken seriously." THE published its first rankings using its new methodology on 16 September 2010, a month earlier than previous years.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, along with the QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities are described to be the three most influential international university rankings. The Globe and Mail in 2010 described the Times Higher Education World University Rankings to be "arguably the most influential."
In 2014 Times Higher Education announced a series of important changes to its flagship THE World University Rankings and its suite of global university performance analyses, following a strategic review by THE parent company TES Global. 
Criteria and weighting
The inaugural 2010-2011 methodology is 13 separate indicators grouped under five categories: Teaching (30 percent of final score), research (30 percent), citations (research impact) (worth 32.5 percent), international mix (5 percent), industry income (2.5 percent). The number of indicators is up from the Times-QS rankings published between 2004 and 2009, which used six indicators.
A draft of the methodology was released on 3 June 2010. The draft stated that 13 indicators would first be used and that this could rise to 16 in future rankings, and laid out the categories of indicators as "research indicators" (55 percent), "institutional indicators" (25 percent), "economic activity/innovation" (10 percent), and "international diversity" (10 percent). The names of the categories and the weighting of each was modified in the final methodology, released on 16 September 2010. The final methodology also included the weighting signed to each of the 13 indicators, shown below:
|Overall indicator||Individual indicator||Percentage weighting|
|Industry Income – innovation||
|Teaching – the learning environment||
|Research – volume, income and reputation||
|Citations – research influence||
The Times Higher Education billed the methodology as "robust, transparent and sophisticated," stating that the final methodology was selected after considering 10 months of "detailed consultation with leading experts in global higher education," 250 pages of feedback from "50 senior figures across every continent" and 300 postings on its website. The overall ranking score was calculated by making Z-scores all datasets to standardize different data types on a common scale to better make comparisons among data.
The reputational component of the rankings (34.5 percent of the overall score – 15 percent for teaching and 19.5 percent for research) came from an Academic Reputation Survey conducted by Thomson Reuters in spring 2010. The survey gathered 13,388 responses among scholars "statistically representative of global higher education's geographical and subject mix." The magazine's category for "industry income – innovation" came from a sole indicator, institution's research income from industry scaled against the number of academic staff." The magazine stated that it used this data as "proxy for high-quality knowledge transfer" and planned to add more indicators for the category in future years.
Data for citation impact (measured as a normalized average citation per paper), comprising 32.5 percent of the overall score, came from 12,000 academic journals indexed by Thomson Reuters' large Web of Science database over the five years from 2004 to 2008. The Times stated that articles published in 2009–2010 have not yet completely accumulated in the database. The normalization of the data differed from the previous rankings system and is intended to "reflect variations in citation volume between different subject areas," so that institutions with high levels of research activity in the life sciences and other areas with high citation counts will not have an unfair advantage over institutions with high levels of research activity in the social sciences, which tend to use fewer citations on average.
The magazine announced on 5 September 2011 that its 2011–2012 World University Rankings would be published on 6 October 2011. At the same time, the magazine revealed changes to the ranking formula that will be introduced with the new rankings. The methodology will continue to use 13 indicators across five broad categories and will keep its "fundamental foundations," but with some changes. Teaching and research will each remain 30 percent of the overall score, and industry income will remain at 2.5 percent. However, a new "international outlook – staff, students and research" will be introduced and will make up 7.5 percent of the final score. This category will include the proportion of international staff and students at each institution (included in the 2011–2012 ranking under the category of "international diversity"), but will also add the proportion of research papers published by each institution that are co-authored with at least one international partner. One 2011–2012 indicator, the institution's public research income, will be dropped.
On 13 September 2011, the Times Higher Education announced that its 2011–2012 list will only rank the top 200 institutions. Phil Baty wrote that this was in the "interests of fairness," because "the lower down the tables you go, the more the data bunch up and the less meaningful the differentials between institutions become." However, Baty wrote that the rankings would include 200 institutions that fall immediately outside the official top 200 according to its data and methodology, but this "best of the rest" list from 201 to 400 would be unranked and listed alphabetically. Baty wrote that the magazine intentionally only ranks around 1 percent of the world's universities in a recognition that "not every university should aspire to be one of the global research elite."
The methodology of the rankings has been refined during the 2011-12 rankings process, the details of the new methodology can be found here. Phil Baty, the rankings editor, has said that the THE World University Rankings are the only global university rankings to examine a university’s teaching environment, as others focus purely on research. Baty has also written that the THE World University Rankings are the only rankings to put arts and humanities and social sciences research on an equal footing to the sciences.
In November 2014 the magazine announced further reforms to the methodology after a review by parent company TES Global. The major change being all institutional data collection would be bought in house severing the connection with Thomson Reuters. In addition research publication data would now be sourced from Elsevier's Scopus database.
The reception to the methodology was varied.
Ross Williams of the Melbourne Institute, commenting on the 2010–2011 draft, stated that the proposed methodology would favour more focused "science-based institutions with relatively few undergraduates" at the expense of institutions with more comprehensive programmes and undergraduates, but also stated that the indicators were "academically robust" overall and that the use of scaled measures would reward productivity rather than overall influence. Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, praised the new methodology as being "less heavily weighted towards subjective assessments of reputation and uses more robust citation measures," which "bolsters confidence in the evaluation method." David Willetts, British Minister of State for Universities and Science praised the rankings, noting that "reputation counts for less this time, and the weight accorded to quality in teaching and learning is greater."
Times Higher Education gives much importance to citations on their ranking. This has been criticised for undermining universities that do not use English as their primary language. Citations and publications in a language different from English are harder to come across. Thus, such a methodology is condemned for being inappropriate and not comprehensive enough. A second important disadvantage for universities of non Anglo-Saxon tradition is that within the disciplines of social sciences and humanities the main tool for publications are books which are not or only rarely covered by citations records. The rankings are also criticized for being commercialized.
In addition, THE also provides 100 Under 50 Universities with different weightings of indicators to accredit the growth of institutions that are under 50 years old.
Various academic disciplines are sorted into six categories in THE's subject rankings: "Arts & Humanities"; "Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health"; "Engineering & Technology"; "Life Sciences"; "Physical Sciences"; and "Social Sciences".
THE's World Reputation Rankings serve as a subsidiary of the overall league tables and rank universities independently in accordance with their scores in prestige.
Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed said of the new rankings: "...Most outfits that do rankings get criticized for the relative weight given to reputation as opposed to objective measures. While Times Higher Education does overall rankings that combine various factors, it is today releasing rankings that can't be criticized for being unclear about the impact of reputation – as they are strictly of reputation."
|The University of Tokyo||1||1||1|
|National University of Singapore||2||2||2|
|The University of Hong Kong||3||3||3|
|Seoul National University||8||4||6|
|The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology||9||9||7|
|Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology||10||8||8|
|Nanyang Technological University||11||11||10|
BRICS and emerging economies
THE's BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings only includes universities in countries classified as "emerging economies" by FTSE, including the "BRICS" nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Hong Kong institutions are not comprised in this ranking.
|Middle East Technical University||9||3|
|University of Cape Town||3||4|
|Lomonosov Moscow State University||10||5|
|National Taiwan University||4||6|
|Istanbul Technical University||7||8|
|University of São Paulo||11||10|
- Order shown in accordance with the latest result.
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- Steve Smith (16 September 2010). "Pride before the fall?". Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
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- Ariel Zirulnick. "New world university ranking puts Harvard back on top". The Christian Science Monitor.
Those two, as well as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, produce the most influential international university rankings out there
- Indira 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).
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- "THE World University Rankings (2013-2014)". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
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- "THE World Reputation Rankings (2013)". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "THE World Reputation Rankings (2014)". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "THE World Reputation Rankings (2011)". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "THE Asia University Rankings (2012-13)". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
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- Times Higher Education website
- Times Higher Education - Asia University Rankings
- The top 100 universities 2010 – how the Times Higher Education ranks them – The Guardian
- University rankings dominated by US, with Harvard top – BBC
- Interactive maps comparing the Times Higher Education, Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings