Europeans the most keen to make rankings noise

June 3, 2010

European universities are most likely to publicise their global rankings, while North American institutions are more reticent.

That is one finding from a research project undertaken by the World 100 Reputation Network, an alliance open to any university ranked in the world's top 100.

The report is titled The world's top 100 universities: analysing their communications and strategies for reputational advancement.

It says: "British and Europeans are more likely to promote their ranking proactively and the North Americans the least likely - probably because they refer to national rankings more heavily, and have lower numbers of international students proportionately."

Evidence of geographical variations in attitudes to individual league tables is also cited in the review, which is based on a survey of universities ranked in the top 100 in either the Times Higher Education World University Rankings or the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJT) rankings.

"Different continents have different verdicts on league tables," the report says.

"For international rankings, Asians appear to like the THE, the Australians and the Europeans like the SJT and THE equally. The UK and Irish prefer the THE (in which more do well). The Americans mention the THE, the SJT and the Financial Times (league tables)."

The analysis also notes a divergence in the willingness of institutions to promote rankings depending on where they stand.

"Those at the top of the leagues have less open interest in the promotion of rankings - partly because they operate from a position of strong brand presence and quiet historical confidence, and partly because they only have room to descend," the review says.

"Thus they don't want to give too much weight to a measure that could amplify their downfall."

Higher Stakes: Managing University Reputation in a Competitive World, the network's first international conference, takes place in Hong Kong on 22-23 June. THE is a media partner.

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