THE University Impact Rankings 2019 by SDG: reduced inequalities methodology

April 2, 2019

This ranking focuses on universities’ research on social inequalities, their policies on discrimination and their commitment to recruiting staff and students from under-represented groups.

View the methodology for the University Impact Rankings 2019 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking.


Research on reduced inequalities (27%)

  • Proportion of papers in the top 10 per cent of journals as defined by Citescore (10%)
  • Field-weighted citation index of papers produced by the university (10%)
  • Number of publications (7%)

This focuses on research that is relevant to reduced inequalities. The field-weighted citation index is a subject-normalised score of the citation performance of publications.

The data are provided by Elsevier’s Scopus dataset, based on a query of keywords associated with SDG 10 (reduced inequalities). It includes all indexed publications between 2013 and 2017. The data are normalised across the range using z-scoring.

First-generation students (23.1%)

To see how the university is addressing economic inequality, we measure the number of students starting a first (bachelor’s) degree who identify as being the first person in their immediate family to attend university, divided by the total number of students starting a first (bachelor’s) degree. All data are provided as full-time equivalents.

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The data are normalised across the range using z-scoring. 

Students from developing countries (15.4%)

This is defined as the proportion of international students at all degree levels who are from low income and lower middle income countries, as defined by the World Bank. To be included, these students must be receiving financial aid that significantly supports them.

These data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The data are normalised across the range using z-scoring.

Students and staff with disabilities (11.4%)

  • Proportion of students with disabilities (5.7%)
  • Proportion of employees with disabilities (5.7%)

These metrics are defined as the relative ratio of the proportion of students and staff at the university with disabilities compared to the national rate of people with disabilities. Universities use the appropriate definition of disability in their country for both figures.

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The data are normalised across its range using z-scoring.

Measures against discrimination (23.1%)

  • Non-discriminatory admissions policy (3.6%)
  • Tracking application and admission rates of under-represented groups (3.6%)
  • Delivering programmes to recruit from under-represented groups (3.6%)
  • Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for staff and students (3.6%)
  • The existence of a diversity and equality committee or officer (3.6%)
  • Providing mentoring or other support programmes aimed at students and staff from under-represented groups (3.6%)
  • Providing cross-cultural awareness or training campaigns (1.5%)

This data and evidence were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised. 


When we ask about policies and initiatives, our metrics require universities to provide the evidence to support their claims. Evidence is evaluated against a set of criteria and decisions are cross-validated where there is uncertainty. Evidence is not required to be exhaustive – we are looking for examples that demonstrate best practice at the institutions concerned.


Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2017.


Universities must teach undergraduates and be validated by a recognised accreditation body to be included in the ranking.

Data collection

Institutions provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. On the rare occasions when a particular data point is not provided, we enter a value of zero.

The methodology was developed in conjunction with our partners Vertigo Ventures and Elsevier, and after consultation and input from individual universities, academics, and sector groups.

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