Books to be included in World University Rankings analysis for first time

Arts and humanities research will be better represented in the 2016-17 global league table

August 22, 2016
Book spines viewed from above
Source: iStock

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017 will include an analysis of more than half a million books and books chapters for the first time as part of its examination of research excellence.

THE’s data team confirmed this week that for the 2016-17 World University Rankings, to be published in September 2016, a total of 11.9 million research publications (with more than 56 million citations) will be included in the analysis.

Of this total, some 528,000 books and book chapters published during the five-year period from 2011 to 2015 will be included in the analysis for the first time.

The research publications are drawn from Elsevier’s Scopus database, and include academic journal articles, reviews, conference proceedings, books and book chapters. The addition of books ensures that the rankings, now in their 13th annual edition, go even further in capturing research excellence in the arts, humanities and social sciences, said THE rankings editor Phil Baty.

“Although the THE World University Rankings already go to great lengths to ensure that arts and humanities and social sciences are put on an equal footing with the hard sciences, through extensive subject-level normalisation and of course the inclusion of many senior academic representatives from these fields in our annual Academic Reputation Survey, we are delighted to be working with Elsevier to ensure that THE’s world rankings are more inclusive than ever in capturing the full range of subject-level outputs,” Mr Baty said.

“Much great research in the arts and humanities in particular is published in books, rather than in journal articles, so the inclusion of books in the rankings this year is a great step forward in giving full recognition for these vital disciplines.”

In total, more than 69,000 books and 459,000 book chapters will be included in the rankings analysis. Of these, about 83,000 book chapters and 22,000 books are in the arts and humanities, while 160,000 chapters and almost 29,000 books are in the social sciences. In addition, some 70,000 chapters, and 11,000 books are classified as business and economics.

The 2016-17 World University Rankings will be based on the same methodology as the 2015-16 rankings, with 13 separate performance indicators covering the full range of a universities activities. Three indicators draw on Elsevier’s Scopus database, including the most heavily weighted, which examines research impact through an analysis of citations, weighted at 30 per cent of the overall ranking score.

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