On Wednesday, Times Higher Education released its rankings of top universities in the world. While other rankings focus primarily on the institution’s return on investment, student satisfaction, or college deliverables, the THE calculates its ranking primarily on the basis of research and academics.
The complete list includes 1,799 universities representing 104 countries. Within the vast group of competitors, all of the top ten rankings went to universities in the United States and the United Kingdom—the University of Oxford was ranked as the #1 university with Harvard University taking the #2 spot. University of Cambridge and Stanford University tied for #3, followed by MIT, Cal Tech, Princeton, Berkeley, Yale, and Imperial College London. The Times Higher Education ranking is unique in considering universities across the globe rather than regionally or nationally. The rankings are calculated using 13 performance indicators across five areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income.
Teaching, which constitutes 30% of consideration within the THE ranking, includes responses to the Academic Reputation Survey (which seeks to understand the global esteem of the institution), the ratio of faculty to students, the percentage of doctoral degrees conferred, the education level of faculty, and the university’s institutional income.
Research also accounts for 30% of the rankings’ consideration. This category incorporates the results of the Academic Reputation Survey, as well as the income produced by the research. This metric is subject to some controversy, according to THE, because “it can be influenced by national policy and economic circumstances.” In addition, funding for research can vary significantly between disciplines, leading to research in the sciences garnering more funding than high caliber research in the arts and humanities. Addressing this imbalance, THE used Elsevier’s Scopus to look deliberately at the ratio of papers published by a university relative to the number of scholars and research funding within the discipline.
Research influence, calculated on the basis of average number of citations per university, accounts for another 30%. This metric calculates the reach of a university’s research and its influence on research at other institutions.
Institutional outlook, defined as “the ability of a university to attract undergraduates, postgraduates and faculty from all over the planet,” factored into the rankings at 7.5%, and was calculated on the basis of the percentage of international students and faculty as well as the institution’s international collaboration. The latter metric was formulated on the basis of the number of publications co-authored by domestic and international scholars.
Finally, industry income factored in at 2.5%, including factors such as innovations, inventions, and consultancy. Ultimately, this metric concerns the monetary value of the research a given institution produces.
The top 25 universities, according to THE, are as follows:
1. University of Oxford
2. Harvard University
3. University of Cambridge
=3. Stanford University
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
6. California Institute of Technology
7. Princeton University
8. University of California, Berkeley
9. Yale University
10. Imperial College London
11. Columbia University
=11. ETH Zurich
13. University of Chicago
14. University of Pennsylvania
15. Johns Hopkins University
16. Tsinghua University
17. Peking University
18. University of Toronto
19. National University of Singapore
20. Cornell University
21. University of California, Los Angeles
23. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
24. New York University
25. Duke University