World University Rankings 2022: can China make the top 10?

THE data reveal the areas where China’s top universities are ahead of their global peers and where they have the most ground to make up 

September 2, 2021
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One of the big questions about China’s continued rise up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is whether an institution in the country will ever reach the top 10 and, if so, how long it will take.  

This boxplot reveals the areas where China’s top 10 universities outperform those in the global top 10, where they are close behind and where they have a long way to go to catch up with the powerhouses in the US and the UK.

The plots show the distribution of scores for all universities in the 2022 edition of the ranking for each metric, with the middle line in each box representing the median score and the ends of the whiskers showing the maximum and minimum scores (excluding any outliers). The blue dot shows the average score for the top 10 universities in the table, while the red dot shows the average score for China’s top 10 institutions (which are ranked between joint 16th and 181st overall).

Metric performance: top in China versus top in the world

(Click on image above to view larger version)

The data show that China’s leading universities are already ahead on two of the income per staff metrics: industry income and research income. The Chinese institutions are also fast catching up when it comes to research productivity (papers per staff), the share of doctorates awarded, institutional income and citation impact.

However, China’s top universities are still significantly behind the global elite when it comes to their reputation for teaching and research, their share of international students and, most strikingly, their share of international co-authorship. This latter measure is the only metric where the Chinese institutions score below the median for all universities in the ranking, suggesting it is an area where China would do well to focus in the coming years.

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