China Subject Ratings 2022: a careful comparison

The China Subject Ratings use a bespoke set of parameters to enable key comparisons with global universities

May 11, 2022
digital exhibition blue China
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Browse the full results of the China Subject Ratings 2022

The success of China’s universities in delivering world-class research, teaching and knowledge transfer in recent decades has been remarkable, and admired across the world.

Times Higher Education has had the privilege of tracking this extraordinary success since 2004, through the flagship annual international university performance analysis, the THE World University Rankings. The most recent world rankings, published in September 2021, showed unprecedented success: mainland China had no fewer than 10 universities in the world top 200 list – with six in the top 100 and two making the world top 20 (Peking and Tsinghua universities, both sharing 16th place).

The THE World University Rankings are the most robust and the most trusted in the world. They are based on 13 separate performance indicators, covering all the core activities of a world-class, research-led university, including teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The 2022 edition of the world rankings drew on an analysis of more than 100 million citations to 14 million research publications, hundreds of thousands of institutional data points and a survey of over 20,000 scholars globally. So China’s achievements in the rankings are based on rigorous analysis.

THE aspires to be the trusted partner of university strategic leaders and policymakers globally, to support institutional excellence in the round. So we understand we must provide ever more rich and deep data analyses and powerful tools that help our community make the right decisions. We recognise that this requires us to continually refine and update what we do.

As a vital part of this commitment, we are pleased to present the third annual edition of our pioneering China Subject Ratings. The China Subject Ratings, built only after wide consultation and dialogue with the Chinese higher education community, provide vital new and more detailed data to support China’s further development.

The ratings draw on key metrics and data from the trusted and established THE World University Rankings, but they focus down to the narrow subject level rather than the institution-wide level, which can sometimes obscure smaller fields of excellent subject-level work, or the broader subject level, which can gloss over important nuance.

We have also ensured that while the China Subject Ratings provide a fully global view of performance, rightly comparing Chinese institutions alongside the very best institutions from all across the world, we have taken a China-first approach. We have used Chinese subject groupings and adopted a Chinese subject taxonomy, and we have utilised a dedicated new Chinese version of our trusted global Academic Reputation Survey to drill down into the expert opinion of Chinese scholars and to amplify Chinese voices in the assessment. These steps mean that the China Subject Ratings will clearly and transparently align with China’s own national developmental and benchmarking requirements while allowing vital comparisons with the rest of the world’s universities.

We are delighted to provide this unprecedentedly deep and rich picture of performance across Chinese teaching and research, and to continue in our privileged role to provide insights and intelligence to support excellence in Chinese, and global, universities.

Phil Baty is chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education.

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