Impact Rankings 2021: peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16) methodology

April 14, 2021

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

View the methodology for the Impact Rankings 2021 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking.


Research on peace and justice (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) and supplemented by additional publications identified by artificial intelligence. The dataset includes all indexed publications between 2015 and 2019. The data are normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

University governance measures (26.6%)

  • Elected representation on the university’s governing body (3.35%)
  • Recognition of a students’ union (3.35%)
  • Policies to identify and engage local stakeholders (3.35%)
  • Participatory bodies to recognise and engage local stakeholders (3.35%)
  • Publish university principles on organised crime, corruption and bribery (3.35%)
  • Policy supporting academic freedom (6.6%)
  • Publish university financial data (3.25%)

The evidence was provided directly by universities, evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and not normalised.

Working with government (23.2%)

  • Provide expert advice to government (6.4%)
  • Provide outreach to policy and lawmakers (6.4%)
  • Undertake policy-focused research in collaboration with government departments (6.4%)
  • Provide a neutral platform for political stakeholders to discuss challenges (4%)

The evidence was provided directly by universities, evaluated and scored by THE and 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. All courses must include a positive ethical dimension and the data relate to the number of graduates in the 2019 academic year.

The data were provided directly by universities and normalised across the 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.

Time frame

Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2019.


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.

View the full methodology for the THE Impact Rankings 2021 here

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