THE World University Rankings 2020: a work of many hands

The rankings are a collaborative global effort, and all who contribute deserve thanks, says Phil Baty

September 11, 2019
WUR 2020 image

Browse the full results of the World University Rankings 2020


The publication of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is a remarkable international team effort.

THE itself has a dedicated unit of full-time data specialists working on collecting and analysing data, with 10 temporary staff helping with validation. Of course, the rankings results are brought to life by THE ’s specialist correspondents, editors, designers and technicians.

Crucial to the success of the rankings are the 10,000 or so published academics who contribute each year to our annual Academic Reputation Survey – lending their experience and expertise to provide us with the most statistically rigorous and representative survey of university prestige in the world. In 2019, some 11,554 scholars from 135 countries took part, and their responses were added to the 10,162 respondents in 2018 to create two of the 13 performance metrics that we employed to produce the 2020 THE World University Rankings.

We also rely on colleagues from our rankings partner, Elsevier, who furnished us with data on 12.8 million research publications, including journal articles and article reviews, books, book chapters and conference proceedings, produced in the past five years. This information is vital for us to assess research excellence internationally.

There is also the team at the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who have worked to make THE the only university rankings provider to open up data collection and calculations to a fully independent formal external audit.

But perhaps most important of all are the legions of dedicated professionals at each of the more than 1,800 universities that supplied data for analysis for the 2020 edition of the World University Rankings (in total, 1,396 made the final cut and entered the rankings this year, with the first 1,000 listed here, and the rest at www.thewur.com). These people devoted time and resources to collating and sharing a wide range of institutional data, covering student and staff demographics as well as financial information, across 11 subject areas. They have provided a total of about 251,000 institutional data points this year alone, and are helping THE to build and expand the world’s deepest and richest database of truly comparable information on university performance.

No institution is included in the THE World University Rankings that has not volunteered to participate or has not dedicated the time and resources to submit and sign off data. This is a unique collaborative partnership approach that THE is extremely proud of.

THE’s goal is to work with the sector to help universities understand their position against their mission, and to support them in their endeavour to deliver transformational teaching, research, innovation and impact. The THE World University Rankings – as the world’s most comprehensive and balanced university rankings system and THE ’s flagship analysis – is a vital part of that mission, offering a headline view of the rapidly changing global higher education and research environment.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at THE and all its partners, and especially all those who collaborate with us across the wonderfully diverse and dynamic global higher education community, for taking part in this true team effort to deliver important new insights and to support universities around their world to realise their extraordinary potential.


Countries/regions represented in the top 200

Country/region    

Number of institutions in top 200

Top institution

Rank

United States

60

California Institute of Technology

2

United Kingdom

28

University of Oxford

1

Germany

23

LMU Munich

=32

Australia

11

University of Melbourne

=32

Netherlands

11

Wageningen University & Research

59

Canada

7

University of Toronto

18

China

7

Tsinghua University

23

Switzerland

7

ETH Zurich

=13

South Korea

6

Seoul National University

64

France

5

Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris

=45

Hong Kong

5

University of Hong Kong

35

Sweden

5

Karolinska Institute

41

Belgium

4

KU Leuven

=45

Denmark

3

University of Copenhagen

101

Italy

3

Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa

=149

Finland

2

University of Helsinki

=96

Japan

2

The University of Tokyo

=36

Singapore

2

National University of Singapore

25

South Africa

2

University of Cape Town

=136

Spain

2

Pompeu Fabra University

143

Austria

1

University of Vienna

=134

Israel

1

Tel Aviv University

=189

New Zealand

1

University of Auckland

=179

Norway

1

University of Oslo

=131

Republic of Ireland

1

Trinity College Dublin

164

Russian Federation

1

Lomonosov Moscow State University

=189

Taiwan

1

National Taiwan University

=120

Phil Baty is chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education 

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