Arab University Rankings: FAQs

We answer your questions about the Times Higher Education Arab University Rankings

May 24, 2022
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We are pleased to announce that following the successful inaugural release of the Arab University Rankings (AUR) in 2021, we released our AUR 2022 in late November last year. The methodology includes a reputation survey conducted in June 2022. 

We have received a very positive response to the Arab University Rankings from across the Arab region. This is in part evidenced by an estimated 40 per cent increase in participation compared with last year. AUR 2022 included 169 ranked universities, with a further 48 universities classified as reporters. This year, we anticipate more than 180 universities being ranked in AUR.

The reputation survey

To enhance our understanding of reputation, we conducted an Arab region-specific survey last year, which yielded more than 20,000 votes; this provided us with a far more accurate picture of university reputation across the Arab region than our global survey.

This invitation-only survey is being repeated this year to a wider group of published academics based in the Arab region; the email invitations to participate in the survey will be sent from 14 May 2023. The email will come from “” with the subject line “تصنيف مجلة تايمز للتعليم العالي العربي 2023 / Times Higher Education Arab Ranking 2023”. We have requested that IT departments whitelist our email and IP address to ensure we maximise the response.

Why a new ranking for Arab universities?

Within our World University Rankings, Arab universities are improving their underlying scores across a range of metrics compared with the rest of the world, particularly in the areas of citation impact and reputation. However, this improvement is not always visible when exploring the World University Rankings because of the growth of the ranking.

We believe that it is important that Arab universities are able to understand their performance and strengths in an objective way within the structure of universities across the Arab region using measurements based solely on those universities. 

Although the World and Impact rankings are a great source of insight into the progress of universities across the Middle East, several factors make the region worthy of further exploration. As well as the unique cultural heritage, there are also many more universities in the process of growing their research capabilities and their visibility within the world of higher education. These institutions are reflecting the desires of their governments and citizens as their nations develop – so it is important that we reflect this in the data we explore.

How is this ranking different?

Measuring citations

For this ranking, we have switched from the traditional calculation of Field Weighted Citation Impact, which looks at the average FWCI of publications associated with a university, to one that uses the 75th percentile. We believe that this gives a more stable measure over time and prevents the distorting effect of a few papers with very high numbers of citations.

It has also allowed us to move away from the issues caused by kilo-author papers (publications that have more than 1,000 authors).

We have also been able to remove the country normalisation approach, which was designed to compensate for issues caused by publication of non-English-language papers. Because all the universities in the Arab ranking are from non-English countries, we believe that this is unnecessary.

Other significant changes

The participation criteria for this ranking are less strict than those for the World University Rankings. Universities must publish at least 500 publications over a five-year period to be included in the Arab ranking (down from 1,000 for the World University Rankings). This reflects the growing nature of higher education in the region.

We have also permitted postgraduate-only institutions to participate in the Arab ranking.

There are also three Arab-specific metrics, although these all have relatively low weightings. Because of the strong focus on sustainability in the region we have included two measures based on participation and performance in the THE Impact Rankings. We have also looked separately at research collaboration among universities in the Arab world.

Guided by the methodology updates which will be introduced in the upcoming edition of the World University Rankings, the Arab University Rankings 2023 will also include some adjustments, primarily in the Research Quality and Industry pillars. The full methodology will be released in November 2023.

Editor’s note: This story was updated in May 2023. 

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