Universities from just two countries – the US and the UK – comprise the top 10 of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014.
Similarly to last year, a group of six “super-brands” holds a clear advantage over the rest, with Harvard University consolidating its position at the top of the table, which ranks universities based on their reputation and prestige.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of California, Berkeley complete the top six, with Princeton University, Yale University, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) just behind.
The University of Tokyo, the only institution from outside the US or the UK to make the top 10 last year, drops two places to 11th.
Overall, the US strengthens its grip on the table, boasting 46 of the universities in the top 100 (up from 43 in 2013) – more than four times as many as the UK, which is the second best represented nation, with 10.
However, while the US generally sees its universities move up the table, Stanford’s rise of three places from sixth to third pushes both Oxford and Cambridge down a place. The University of Bristol, meanwhile, exits the top 100 this year, following the universities of Sheffield and Leeds, which fell out of the table in 2012 and 2013 respectively. It means the UK now has two fewer representatives than when the rankings began in 2011.
Furthermore, the UK’s two new entrants are based in London (the London Business School and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), meaning that eight of the country’s 10 representatives are now based in the “golden triangle” of London, Oxford and Cambridge, the universities of Manchester and Edinburgh being the exceptions.
“If other parts of the UK are to improve their performance, we need clearer incentives to collaborate, a more sensible migration regime and a careful distribution of the forthcoming quality-related and European Union research spending,” said Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute.
In representative terms, the US and the UK are followed by Germany, which has six institutions in the top 100. France loses two representatives, leaving it with two in the table, and the Netherlands also loses ground as Wageningen University and Research Centre drops out.
Last year’s success story, Australia, which saw two universities enter the top 100, slips back, with Monash University – a new entrant in 2013 – exiting the table, leaving the country with five representatives.
In East Asia, Japan remains the strongest performer, with five representatives, while China’s fortunes are mixed, with its top-ranked institution, Tsinghua University, slipping one place to 36th but Peking University climbing four places to 41st.
Compiled by Thomson Reuters, the World Reputation Rankings 2014 are based on responses from about 10,500 leading peer-reviewed academics in 133 countries, who were asked to nominate up to 15 of the best institutions in their field of expertise.
“A university’s reputation for academic excellence is absolutely vital to its success,” said THE rankings editor Phil Baty. “While reputation is based on subjective opinion, in this case it is the informed, expert opinion of those in the know: experienced scholars from around the world.”
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How the world’s universities compare
|Country||Number of institutions in the top 100||Top institution in each country||Top institution rank|
|*Institutions in the second half of the overall table are listed in groups of 10|
|UK||10||University of Cambridge||4|
|Japan||5||University of Tokyo||11|
|Australia||5||University of Melbourne||43|
|Netherlands||4||Delft University of Technology||42|
|Canada||3||University of Toronto||20|
|South Korea||3||Seoul National University (SNU)||26|
|Hong Kong||3||University of Hong Kong||43|
|Switzerland||2||ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich||16|
|Singapore||2||National University of Singapore (NUS)||21|