THE World University Rankings

June 10, 2010

Some scholars in the arts and humanities have expressed concern - to put it mildly - that the citation data used in the 2010 Times Higher Education World University Rankings will fail to measure the research strength in their fields.

One Irish academic, posting on our website recently, argued that because the bibliometric figures used by our rankings data supplier, Thomson Reuters, "do not include some of the best Irish historical journals, nor essays published in edited collections", the rankings will be invalid.

In response, Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Evidence, a subsidiary of Thomson Reuters, said: "Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge includes not only the Science Citation Index but also the equally well-established Social Science Citation Index and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index.

"The company is well aware of the different research cultures and publishing patterns in these different areas. The journal categories in our core products are structured to reflect the way in which journal usage is grouped across subjects within these broad areas. As a result, analyses of publications in philosophy, physics and pharmacology can be implemented separately."

He added that Evidence had worked on research-performance analysis at a national level with, for example, the Economic and Social Research Council, as well as science-based organisations.

"(Evidence) is very familiar with the different data characteristics of these disciplines and with the views of researchers about the preferred indicators for achievement in their specialisms," he said. "This is being brought to bear ... to work towards an outcome that makes sense for all institutions and disciplines involved."

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