Shine on, other diamonds

February 21, 2013

Regarding “Universities pull out of EU’s ‘unjustifiable’ U-Multirank” (News, 7 February).

The antipathy of the League of European Research Universities towards the rankings system is hardly surprisingly. After all, U-Multirank is an initiative that will allow people to assess universities’ strengths according to a wide range of criteria rather than by the narrow and arbitrary metrics employed by league tables that tend to cast…erm…Leru members in a favourable light.

Global higher education exists for diverse purposes, and U-Multirank is an ambitious project that aims to reflect that diversity. Leru members no doubt will still shine as beacons of excellence in their fields of expertise, but the different light of other stars will also be seen.

Leru’s claim that U-Multirank is a threat to the health of the system can only be viewed as short-term protectionism. This isn’t a case of turkeys refusing to vote for Christmas: it’s a case of the turkeys wanting everyone to turn vegan and carry on giving them corn.

To declare my interest, I am part of the delivery consortium for U- Multirank - my responsibility is to ensure the usability of the online tool. Everyone working on the project appreciates the challenges involved, but in time we believe U-Multirank will show that it is better to be able to compare like with like and to explore the wealth of what higher education has to offer than merely to perpetuate the pop-chart one- upmanship of traditional university rankings.

Johnny Rich
Managing director
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