World University Rankings blog: 500,000 reasons to be cheerful

Data will power the most comprehensive THE World University Rankings yet

July 15, 2015
Cheerful smiling man (cartoon)

We did it. Times Higher Education has just completed the biggest ever data collection exercise in the history of its world university rankings, giving us an exceptionally strong foundation to build our most comprehensive and insightful rankings to date.

Working in close partnership with universities all across the world, Times Higher Education’s in-house data team has collected comprehensive institutional data from 1,128 institutions from 88 countries, which have provided us well over 100,000 separate data points to work with. Combined with around 400,000 additional data points from the Academic Reputation Survey we completed at the beginning of 2015, we are well on the way to realising our ambition to create the largest and most comprehensive database of university information in the world.

Data collection for this cycle is now closed, and the institutional data, after thorough quality assurance work, will be combined with our reputation survey data and research publication data from Elsevier’s Scopus database to build the 2015-16 THE World University Rankings. The world rankings will be published online at 21.00 BST on Wednesday 30 September, just hours ahead of their official worldwide launch on 1 October at the THE World Academic Summit at the University of Melbourne.

Our six subject-specific world ranking tables (in engineering and technology; arts and humanities; social sciences; life sciences; physical sciences; and clinical and health related subjects) will be published in the weeks following the overall launch.

I can confirm today that this year’s rankings will extend well beyond the top 400 universities that we have previously listed, giving unprecedented insights into the global higher education and research landscape. Our rankings website will also offer unprecedented opportunities to highlight the key strengths of all institutions featured.

But the opportunities for new insights go much deeper than that. As we are no longer outsourcing our data collection to a third party, this will be the first year that the bulk of the data used to create the rankings sits within the THE team. With rich institution-wide and subject-level data on  institutions’ resources and staff and student profiles, and their reputation across the world across the academic disciplines, THE can develop new analyses, in response to sector demand and consultation, including new rankings and analytical services.

We are entering into an exciting new era in world university rankings and we will have much to report in the coming months. Watch this space.

Phil Baty is editor of Times Higher Education World University Rankings

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Reader's comments (1)

The original headline of this blog has been changed from "300,000 reasons to be cheerful" to "500,000 reasons", to reflect the fact that the Academic Reputation Survey includes a total of around 400,000 data points (not 200,000 as originally stated), so the underlying database has around 500,000 data points. The reputation survey, which attracted over 10,000 responses in 2015, asks senior academics to name the leading institutions in their fields at both the regional and global level, in both teaching and research, although only global responses (around 200,000 data points) are used to create the World University Rankings. There is more information about the survey and the responses here: https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2015/reputation-ranking#tab-ranking-methodology

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