World University Rankings 2020 by subject: life sciences methodology

November 15, 2019

View the full results of the THE World University Rankings 2020 by subject: life sciences


The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 life sciences subject ranking includes a range of narrower subject areas.

The subjects used to create this ranking are:

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Biological sciences
  • Veterinary science
  • Sport science

Different weights and measures

The subject tables employ the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2020, brought together with scores provided under five categories.

However, the overall methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields.

The weightings for the life sciences ranking are:

  • Teaching: the learning environment
    27.5 per cent
  • Research: volume, income and reputation
    27.5 per cent
  • Citations: research influence
    35 per cent
  • International outlook: staff, students and research
    7.5 per cent
  • Industry income: innovation
    2.5 per cent

Criteria

Two criteria are included in the subject rankings: a publication threshold by discipline and an academic staff* threshold by discipline.

No institution can be included in the overall World University Rankings unless it has published a minimum of 1,000 relevant publications over the five years that we examine.

For the 11 subject tables, the publication thresholds are set differently. For life sciences, the threshold drops to 500 papers published in this discipline over the past five years.

There is also an academic staff eligibility criterion. Prior to the 2019 subject rankings, we expected an institution to have at least 5 per cent of its academic staff working in the life sciences discipline in order to include it in the subject table.

Since the 2019 subject rankings, we have made a small adjustment in the staff eligibility criterion. An institution needs to have either a minimum proportion of its staff or a minimum number of staff in this discipline to be included in the subject ranking.

For life sciences, we expect an institution either to have at least 5 per cent of its academic staff in the life sciences discipline or to have at least 50 academic staff in the life sciences discipline.

*Academic staff is defined as the full-time equivalent number of staff employed in an academic post, for example, lecturer, reader, professor.

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