THE Impact Rankings 2019 by SDG: peace, justice and strong institutions methodology

April 2, 2019

This ranking focuses on how universities can support strong institutions in their countries and promote peace and justice. It explores universities’ research on law and international relations, their participation as advisers for government and their policies on academic freedom.

View the methodology for the THE Impact Rankings 2019 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking.


Research (27%)

  • Proportion of papers in the top 10 per cent of journals as defined by Citescore (10%)
  • Field-weighted citation index of papers produced by the university (10%)
  • Number of publications (7%)

This focuses on research that is relevant to peace and justice. The field-weighted citation index is a subject-normalised score of the citation performance of publications.

The data are provided by Elsevier’s Scopus dataset, based on a query of keywords associated with SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). It includes all indexed publications between 2013 and 2017. The data are normalised across its range using z-scoring.

University governance measures (26.6%)

  • Elected representation on the university’s governing body (2%)
  • Recognition of a students’ union (2%)
  • Policies to engage university stakeholders (4%)
  • Participatory bodies that include local residents (4%)
  • Policies on organised crime and corruption (4%)
  • Policies guaranteeing academic freedom (6.6%)
  • Publication of university financial data (4%)

When looking at the university and its stakeholders we asked for evidence that the university actively sought out participation from the community, from its staff and its students. Universities were asked if they recognised a students’ union, and if they had a policy supporting academic freedom. We asked if university finances were publicly available, and if so if they were available as open data.

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised. 

Working with government (23.2%)

  • Provide expert advice to government (6.4%)
  • Provide outreach to national and local government (6.4%)
  • Generating research at the request of government or which is directly used by government (6.4%)
  • Provide a neutral platform for discussion of challenging topics (4%) 

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised. 

Proportion of graduates in law and civil enforcement (23.2%)

Universities can support justice through the provision of appropriately educated graduates, so we measured the number of graduates in law or civil policing subjects divided by the total number of graduates.

The data relate to the number of graduates in the 2017 academic year.

These data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The data were normalised across its range using z-scoring. 


When we ask about policies and initiatives, our metrics require universities to provide the evidence to support their claims. Evidence is evaluated against a set of criteria and decisions are cross-validated where there is uncertainty. Evidence is not required to be exhaustive – we are looking for examples that demonstrate best practice at the institutions concerned.


Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2017.


Universities must teach undergraduates and be validated by a recognised accreditation body to be included in the ranking.

Data collection

Institutions provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. On the rare occasions when a particular data point is not provided, we enter a value of zero.

The methodology was developed in conjunction with our partners Vertigo Ventures and Elsevier, and after consultation and input from individual universities, academics, and sector groups. 

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