Leader: Invest to stay ahead

October 27, 2006

The last of this year's World University Rankings are published today, with more good news for Oxford and Cambridge (and other UK universities) in the social sciences and humanities. These specialist tables are based entirely on peer review and do not contain mediating factors such as citations and staffing levels. But, like those for the sciences, they paint a picture of leading UK institutions that some will find surprisingly rosy. They enjoy the advantages of longevity, widely dispersed alumni and (above all) use of the English language, but these are shared with most of the big names on the other side of the Atlantic.

American unpopularity on the world stage may play a part in depressing some Ivy League scores, as may the reluctance of many US academics to engage with international comparisons. But the aggregated views of academics around the world underline the continued high standing of leading UK universities. This is something that should be both celebrated and developed, but that must not breed complacency. If the conclusion drawn from this year's results is that universities outside the US can perform well enough without the riches enjoyed by their competitors, their successes will be short-lived.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns