These are the tough questions Times Higher Education has begun to address in earnest, after ending its rankings partnership with the company QS last month in order to develop a new and improved world rankings methodology.
To make sure that the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010 provide the international university community with the most valid, rigorous, transparent and useful resource possible, we have embarked on a range of activities.
Next week, Times Higher Education's expert editorial board will meet senior staff from our new rankings partner, Thomson Reuters, to start the process of defining a world-class institution and developing our methodology.
In addition, Thomson Reuters has just launched a detailed survey to gather informed views on the current weaknesses of rankings systems and to seek your input on their future. To fill in the survey, click on the link on our dedicated 2010 World University Rankings discussion page at http://bit.ly/ErAag, and help shape our rankings for 2010 and beyond.