University rankings: how do you compare universities?!

Looking at who has cited the paper “International ranking systems for universities and institutions: a critical appraisal” on GoogleScholar throws up a lot more interesting papers on this topic, and on the theme of measuring research.

I wrote a blogpost about University rankings in 2010, when I worked at the University of Warwick and there is continued interest in the topic, especially in the UK, just after the THE publish their results!

Here is my list of University Ranking examples:

Simon Marginson of the Institute of Education, London blog recently provided a useful round-up of the rankings

It does seem that the international, generic rankings favour Universities that are strong in the sciences. No wonder, when you look at the methodologies which often include a large emphasis on citation measurement.

To me, it seems sensible to consider the performance of the department, rather than the whole University: disciplinary differences in ways to achieve publication/outputs/impact can be huge!

If you’re going to measure with bibliometrics, then I like Dorothy Bishop’s blogpost on the LSE blog, which considers measuring a department’s H-index.

Of course, any ranking will be flawed from one perspective or another. Any measurement will have its strengths and limitations. It’s good for busy practitioners to keep an eye on scholarly work in this area, from time to time.

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