World University Rankings 2023: trends in research

Research and citations are key rankings metrics, but different leaders on each suggest that Oceania’s strength is not being fully recognised

October 12, 2022

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Here we look at the pillars of the World University Rankings that measure research and citations.

While these metrics are, of course, linked, research (which measures research reputation, research income and productivity) actually shows a different trend from citations, which use Elsevier’s bibliometric data.

Looking at research and citations side by side reveals an interesting trend: North America has comfortably led the pack for several years when it comes to research, but on citations, Oceania is surging ahead, suggesting perhaps that research reputation is yet to catch up with output.

The top three regions when it comes to research are the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Belgium. For citations, it is Hong Kong, Australia and Switzerland.

But which countries are rising fastest when it comes to research and citations? Nigeria is the country improving at the quickest rate, increasing the average citation score by 30 points since 2019, from 28 to 58. The second biggest improver is Egypt, which rose by 29 points, from 33 to 62; followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which climbed from 44 to 70.

When it comes to the biggest improvements in citations, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are high achievers again, with China coming in third.


Print headline: Strength unrecognised

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