THE World University Rankings

July 1, 2010

So now we get to the hard part.

I have spent months discussing the problems of our previous university ranking system: a weak response rate to the reputational survey, the failure to normalise citations data for subjects, and many more.

Last month, we published for consultation our broad proposals for a more rigorous and sophisticated version of the World University Rankings for 2010 and beyond.

We propose about 13 separate indicators (up from just six under the old system), grouped into four key areas: research; economic activity and innovation; international diversity; and a broad "institutional indicator" including data on teaching reputation, institutional income and student and staff numbers.

Detailed proposals went out to senior university figures and higher education experts, including Times Higher Education's editorial board, for feedback.

I am delighted to say that the group took its task extremely seriously. We have received formal feedback from 45 leading figures representing 15 countries, including at least one from each continent. The group has submitted more than 250 pages of detailed comment.

Over the past week, I have also been consulting senior figures at a series of events in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing. The overall feedback has been positive. But of course, there have also been objections to some of the indicators and weightings, as well as suggestions for fine-tuning.

At this stage we are validating our data and building our sample datasets to test the robustness of the figures we have.

The test results and expert feedback will enable us to produce a final methodology that will command far more respect than in the past. We will keep you posted.

Phil Baty is editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

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