12 October 2012
The 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings may have only just been published, but at Thomson Reuters we have already started work on the 2013-2014 rankings data.
There is a lot of work to do, and it takes a lot of time, so all universities who are not already participating in the rankings project and want to be considered for next year's exercise have only until the end of this month, October 2012, to let us know.
The indicators that require the most work are the those based on the publications by the academics at each university. The data source for these indicators is the Web of Science, is a collection of 12,500 scholarly journals containing over 53million individual records and increasing by more than two million records a year. Each record contains all the author and affiliation information, on average there are around five authors and three affiliation addresses per record but there can be over a thousand individuals contributing to a single article. Many times the author affiliations will vary. Examples of variants include: institutional name spelling errors; name changes; institution mergers; re-ordering of words and the use of the name of component institutions without the parent institution name. These all need to be taken in to account. To correctly identify the affiliations on each article and to assign them to the correct institution is a monumental task that requires the analysis of tens of millions of affiliation addresses. Automated process can capture some of these variations but manual oversight and background research into the makeup of the institution are also required.
Because of the scale of the task, and the time it takes, we will be closing the project to new institutions at the end of October 2012. If you are the leader or administrator of a university that is not already in the Thomson Reuters Institutional Profiles project (the data source for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings) and you would like to be considered for 2013-2014 please contact email@example.com before October 31 2012.
Simon Pratt is Product Manager, Institutional Research at Thomson Reuters