World University Rankings blog: your invitation to shape the 2016-17 rankings results

February 1, 2016
World reputation rankings invitation

Academics from across the world are being invited to help Times Higher Education develop unique new insights into the global teaching and research landscape – shaping the results of the World University Rankings and providing $10,000 for education charities in the process.

THE today launched its 2016 Academic Reputation Survey, which asks published scholars to outline which institutions they perceive to be the best (both in their country and worldwide), for teaching and research in their specialist discipline. Each respondent will be representing many of their peers from their fields and their country.

The survey results will make up two of the 13 performance indicators used to create the THE World University Rankings, and related regional rankings, and will form the basis of the separate THE World Reputation Rankings. As well as informing the rankings, the data will also help THE to provide detailed analytical insights into the academic prestige of institutions across countries, regions and disciplines.

For each survey completed, THE will donate $1 to charity, up to a total value of $10,000. The charities respondents will be supporting are Camfed, STIR and United World Schools, all educational charities supporting developing world countries.

The data will, of course, be based purely on subjective judgement. But it will be the subjective judgement of those best placed to understand excellence in teaching and research - academics themselves. And reputation is a powerful currency in global higher education, influencing an institution’s ability to attract talent, philanthropic donations and business investment.

The data can provide rich and unique insights into the strength of teaching and research beyond simple metrics linked, for example, to research publications or graduate outcomes.

The survey, run in partnership with Elsevier, is invitation-only to ensure a representative statistical sample. It is available in 15 languages, and is distributed using United Nations data on the geographical distribution of scholars globally, to ensure a fair and balanced response. We do not allow universities to nominate respondents or for respondents to volunteer – unlike other similar exercises.

So we urge anyone who receives an email from us to lend their expert opinion and take the 10-15 minutes it takes to fill it in. Look out for a mail from with the subject line “Times Higher Education Academic Reputation Survey – your opinion matters”.

Your opinion really does matter and we thank all respondents in advance for helping us to develop a unique, rich and valuable resource.

Phil Baty is editor, THE World University Rankings

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