MIT tops Leiden ranking as US dominates

The US dominates this year’s CWTS Leiden Ranking of the world’s top universities.

April 17, 2013

Source: Marcio Jose Bastos Silva /

Switzerland’s Ecole Polytech Fédérale Lausanne (in 13th place) is the only university outside America to feature in the top 20 of the ranking, which was devised by the Netherlands’ Leiden University.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology takes top spot in the 2012-13 ranking, with the University of California Santa Barbara in second place, just ahead of Stanford University.

They are followed by Princeton, Harvard and Rice University in Houston, Texas, in the ranking of 500 major international universities published on 17 April.

The highest placed UK university is the University of Cambridge in 24th place, while the University of Oxford is placed at 30th.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is 33rd, while Imperial College London (41st), the University of St Andrews (47th), the University of Exeter (49th) and University College London (50th) also make the top 50.

Unlike many other rankings, the CWTS Leiden Ranking does not rely on reputation surveys among academics and instead concentrates on scientific output by measuring a university’s research citation scores.

However, a report by the European University Association, titled Global University Rankings and their Impact – Report II, published last week, said there were questions about the overall validity of the ranking as “arts and humanities are not considered at all”.

“Coverage of engineering and social sciences is limited due to the types of publications selected: articles, reviews and letters, but not conference proceedings and/or books,” the report adds.

Nonetheless, the ranking reports how universities outside the US and Europe have become serious players in the sector, not only in the number of publications but also in scientific impact.

For the first time two Chinese universities - Nankai (53rd) and Hunan (55th) - overtake the best universities in the Netherlands in terms of impact (Leiden, 58th, and Utrecht, 60th).

However, Dutch universities perform well in terms of research collaboration with industry, according to the ranking.

EindhovenTechnical University is the university which publishes most intensely in collaboration with companies, with 15.6 per cent of its publications containing a business address.

Delft University, in the south west of the country, and Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, share the second place with 14 per cent, almost twice the rate of Harvard University, the world’s largest research university, which clocks a score of 7.6 per cent.

CWTS Leiden Ranking results

1MIT     US
2Univ Calif - Santa Barbara      US
3Stanford Univ     US
4Princeton Univ   US
5Harvard Univ  US
6Rice Univ        US
7Univ Calif - Berkeley  US
8Caltech            US
9Univ Calif - San Francisco      US
10Yale Univ        US
11Univ Calif - Santa Cruz           US
12Univ Texas - SW Med Ctr       US
13Ecole Polytech Fédérale Lausanne          Switzerland
14Univ Colorado - Boulder        US
15Univ Calif - San Diego            US
16Univ Chicago  US
17Northwestern Univ      US
18Univ Penn        US
19Columbia Univ            US
20Univ Massachusetts Med Sch  US
21Carnegie Mellon UnivUS
22Washington Univ - St Louis     US
23Weizmann Inst Sci       Israel
24Univ Cambridge          UK
25Univ Calif - Los Angeles        US
26ETH Zurich       Switzerland
Univ Washington - Seattle       US
28NYU    US
29Duke Univ       US
30Univ Oxford    UK
31Icahn Sch Med Mt Sinai          US
32Cornell Univ   US
33London Sch Hyg & Trop MedUK
34Georgia Inst Technol   US
35Univ Calif - RiversideUS
36Johns Hopkins Univ    US
37Boston Univ    US
38Univ N Carolina - Chapel Hill            US
39Univ Texas - Austin    US
40Univ MichiganUS
41Imperial Coll London  UK
42Univ Massachusetts - Amherst            US
43Dartmouth Coll            US
44Univ Calif - Irvine       US
45Tech Univ Denmark           Denmark
46Emory Univ     US
47Univ St Andrews         UK
48Univ Dublin Trinity Coll        Ireland
49Univ Exeter     UK
50Univ Coll London        UK

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