THE World University Rankings

Global university rankings "are simply not going to go away".

May 20, 2010

That is the view of Ben Wildavsky, author of the acclaimed book The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World, which was published this year.

Speaking earlier this month at the Carnegie Council, a US international-affairs organisation, Mr Wildavsky said that many people felt global rankings "measure the wrong things, create perverse incentives" and "don't tell you about the real effectiveness of a university".

But Mr Wildavsky, senior Fellow in research and policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, argued that rankings can be a force for good.

While there were problems with them, he said, they could be "very useful" for individuals, universities and policymakers. He pointed out that Times Higher Education's World University Rankings "quickly became used by policymakers as a way of looking at how much universities are respected by their peers", and had encouraged "self-examination on the part of universities, which have not always been terribly receptive to outside examination".

For Mr Wildavsky, the key question for those compiling rankings is "how to make them better".

"Times Higher Education acknowledged that there were a lot of flaws in its sampling and survey," he said. "It's trying to start the whole thing over again and is being very transparent.

"I'm on its Twitter feed and every couple of days it mentions a speech one of its head editors is giving about the need for more input about what it should do differently. I think that's great ... it is moving in the right direction."

Help us to stay on course - give us your views to help us build a transparent, balanced and robust methodology.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Analyst

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

PhD Research Fellow in Medical Physics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Senior Knowledge Officer

European Association For International Education

Postdoctoral position in Atmospheric and Space Physics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes