New partner for THE rankings; David Willetts joins TES Global advisory board

Change to data collection methods in move designed to permit deeper analysis as former universities minister agrees to chair new Higher Education Advisory Board

November 27, 2014

A new data partner has been announced as part of a set of changes to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, in a move designed to allow for deeper analysis of global university performance.

The methodology of the influential rankings is being broadly preserved, with criteria assessing universities on their research, knowledge transfer, international outlook and teaching environment.

However, starting in 2015, all the institutional data used to create the rankings will be collected in-house, while research publication data will be sourced from Elsevier’s Scopus database. These citation data were previously provided by Thomson Reuters.

The changes are intended to allow greater depth of analysis across a wider range of institutions, including those in emerging economies.

THE will also draw on SciVal, Elsevier’s research metrics analysis tool, opening up new avenues for research performance metrics and analysis.

In another change, THE will take responsibility for the administration and ownership of the annual global academic reputation survey, which fuels the flagship ranking and the THE World Reputation Rankings.

Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said: “The new arrangements will allow THE to become more accountable for its rankings data and to develop wider, deeper and richer coverage of the rapidly changing global research landscape.

“The changes will also provide the platform for further innovation in university performance metrics, with new tools and analytics to capture a wider range of institutional strengths, in a greater range of contexts, against a broader range of missions.”


David Willetts, the former universities and science minister, is to chair a new Higher Education Advisory Board that will provide TES Global, the parent company of THE and its sister title, TES, with strategic advice at the corporate level.

The board, other members of which will be announced in due course, will be entirely separate from THE’s editorial board.

Louise Rogers, chief executive of TES Global, said that Mr Willetts would provide “unique insight into the changing shape of the higher education landscape globally”.

Mr Willetts said: “Times Higher Education does not just play a role in British higher education; it has a global influence, and I look forward to enhancing this.”

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