Why was change needed?

April 22, 2010

Since their first appearance in 2004, Times Higher Education’s global university league tables have been recognised as the most authoritative source of broad comparative performance information on universities across the world. As nations focus on establishing world-class universities as essential elements of economic policy, the rankings are increasingly employed as a tool for governments to set national policy. Because of their growing influence and reach, Times Higher Education has undertaken a root-and-branch review of the rankings to improve their rigour, balance, sophistication and transparency.

“Many staffing and organisational decisions at institutions worldwide have been affected by ranking-related goals and outcomes…Rankings play an important role in persuading the government and universities to rethink core national values.”

US Institute for Higher Education Policy

“Rankings seem destined to be a fixture on the global education scene for years to come…as they are refined and improved, they can and should play an important role in helping universities get better.”

Ben Wildavsky, The Great Brain Race (Princeton University Press, 2010)

“University rankings are powerful. They compel public attention and shape the behaviour of universities and policymakers…they are everywhere in the sector and beyond. They set university reputations.”

Simon Marginson, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne

“What started out as a consumer product aimed at undergraduate domestic students has now become both a manifestation and a driver of global competition, and a battle for excellence in itself.”

Janez Potocnik, former European commissioner for science and research

“Issues about the productivity, status and quality of higher education and university-based research become indicators of [a country’s] competitiveness. How many institutions you have in the top 10, 50 or 100 of international rankings is used to gauge your national competitiveness.”

Ellen Hazelkorn, director of research and enterprise and dean of the Graduate Research School, Dublin Institute of Technology

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