Times Higher Education announces reforms to its World University Rankings

Times Higher Education today announces a series of important changes to its flagship THE World University Rankings

November 19, 2014

The methodology of the World University Rankings will be broadly preserved and they will continue to evaluate universities across all of their core missions including research, knowledge transfer, international outlook and the teaching environment.

But a series of structural changes will ensure that the THE rankings continue to lead the field for rigour, responsiveness and transparency and provide an ever richer picture of the global higher education and research landscape.

The key change is that all institutional data collection, previously outsourced to Thomson Reuters, will be expanded and will now be brought in-house, carried out by a new, dedicated team of data analysts at THE. The team, in partnership with universities, intends to build the largest and most comprehensive database of university data in the world.

Data, including key information such as an institution’s resources and staff and student profiles, at both the institutional and subject level, will be collected from many hundreds of institutions across the world. The data will be used to underpin the overall THE World University Rankings, as well as supplementary rankings, including the THE 100 Under 50, the THE Asia University and the THE BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings. It will also be used to develop new analyses, in response to sector demand and consultation, including new rankings and analytical services.

In a further innovation, research publication data for the rankings will in future be drawn from Elsevier’s Scopus database. The new data source will allow THE to analyse a deeper amount of research activity from a wider range of institutions than at present, including those institutions from emerging economies that account for a growing portion of the world’s research output. THE will also draw on SciVal, Elsevier’s research metrics analysis tool, which will allow continuing innovation in the field of research performance metrics and analysis.

In addition, THE will take responsibility for the administration and ownership of the annual global academic reputation survey, which fuels the ranking and the prestigious annual THE World Reputation Rankings, which was also previously outsourced to Thomson Reuters.

In partnership with Elsevier, THE has today launched the first of the new-look annual global surveys, with the goal of creating the largest survey of its kind, providing the most detailed picture yet of the global reputational standing of our leading universities, judged by those who best understand excellence in teaching and research: scholars themselves.

Elsevier will help to administer the survey, drawing on its vast global database of leading scholars across all fields of research, but THE will own the data, allowing more of the information to be put into the public domain and more sophisticated analytical services.

Trevor Barratt, managing director of THE, said: “The THE World University Rankings are already exceptionally influential and our global performance indicators are in demand across the world.

“We are now entering an exciting new phase in the development of the THE’s gold-standard analyses. Our partnership with Elsevier will ensure that we remain at the forefront of developments and innovations in the evaluation of university performance.”

Nick Fowler, Elsevier’s managing director, research management, said: “We are thrilled to partner with THE: the THE World University Rankings are a global leader in university rankings. They support university and industry leaders in setting strategic priorities and making investment decisions, and they help governments shape national policy.”

To ensure your university is included in the World University Rankings 2015-2016, make sure it is signed up for data collection by emailing us at: profilerankings@timeshighereducation.com

Academics invited to shape the results of the World University Rankings 2015-2016

Tens of thousands of senior academics around the world are being invited to shape the results of the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and contribute to the most comprehensive picture yet produced of global teaching and research.

THE, in partnership with Elsevier, today launched the 2015 THE Academic Reputation Survey, with a number of key improvements.

The survey data are among 13 performance indicators used to create the THE World University Rankings and form the basis of the THE World Reputation Rankings, and will also enable THE to develop new analyses and draw deeper insights into the changing global higher education landscape.

Leading scholars from across the world and across all academic disciplines have been selected, based on their publication record, to represent their country and their academic field in the exercise, which is the world’s largest invitation-only survey of its kind.

THE does not allow institutions to nominate participants in the survey and does not allow anyone to sign up for the research without an invitation, so those selected to take part will be representing thousands of their peers.

In order to build the most representative, balanced and detailed picture of global teaching and research, the number of languages the research is distributed in has been dramatically increased. 

Last year’s survey used nine languages while this year’s exercise will use 15 languages. The six languages to be added are: South American Spanish, Italian, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Turkish and Russian.

Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said: “We would like to thank in advance all scholars who will be helping us to create this rich and important picture of global higher education.

“By lending a small amount of their precious time, and – more importantly – by lending their expertise, they will become part of an extraordinary global research project that will shape the THE rankings and wider performance metrics.”

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