Young academics are more likely to hold new, Asian or technology-focused universities in high regard than their older peers, according to an analysis of Times Higher Education data.
While the THE World Reputation Rankings 2019, published on 17 July, are led by a familiar roll call of institutions, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), some interesting trends emerge when the results are split by demographic factors of voters.
The ranking is based on an invitation-only survey of more than 11,000 scholars across the world, who were asked to name no more than 15 universities that they believe are best for research and teaching in their field.
Respondents aged under 26 were more than twice as likely to vote for institutions characterised by THE as “technology challengers” (10.6 per cent) than those aged over 65 (5 per cent). These institutions – many of which are under the age of 50 – lean towards physical sciences and engineering and technology, tend to receive a high amount of industry income and perform less well on measures of research environment and citation impact.
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Meanwhile, 6.4 per cent of respondents aged under 26 voted for “Asian challengers” – established institutions mainly in Japan, India and China with strong industry links – compared with 4.4 per cent of those aged over 65. And 1.8 per cent of those aged 26 and under voted for young institutions considered to be “developing expertise”, compared with 1 per cent of those aged over 65 and 1.5 per cent of those aged between 56 and 65.
Conversely, older academics are more likely than their younger counterparts to recognise universities that are considered to be “effective publishers” – those that score highly for citation impact, despite not being as strong when it comes to teaching and research environments. Among the over 65 group, 5.3 per cent of respondents voted for universities in this category, compared with 2 per cent of those under 26 and 3.8 per cent of those aged 26 to 35.
Rupert Younger, founder and director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Corporate Reputation, said that the findings could relate to the fact that “younger academics are more likely to be working with less established institutions”.
“But I suspect also that many of the younger scholars are looking to break new ground on cross-cultural studies, and on global issues which are perhaps better explained through a wider set of analytical lenses [gained from collaboration with] more innovative and younger institutions in emerging economies,” he said.
World Reputation Rankings 2019: top 10
|Reputation rank 2019||Reputation rank 2018||World rank 2019||Institution||Country||Overall score|
|1||1||6||Harvard University||United States||100.0|
|2||2||4||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||United States||85.4|
|3||3||3||Stanford University||United States||77.3|
|4||4||2||University of Cambridge||United Kingdom||72.3|
|5||5||1||University of Oxford||United Kingdom||71.3|
|6||6||15||University of California, Berkeley||United States||57.0|
|7||7||7||Princeton University||United States||37.5|
|8||8||8||Yale University||United States||36.7|
|9||=9||17||University of California, Los Angeles||United States||28.1|
|10||=9||10||University of Chicago||United States||26.6|
Print headline: Young academics rate ‘Asian challengers’ in THE Reputation Rankings
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