Rankings assign scores to institutions all around the world. Given the current movement towards internationalisation in higher education, it is now vitally important that institutions profile themselves in the international education market. Whilst their individual methodologies, accuracy and value remain a common topic of debate, interest in the type of information these rankings provide has seen a significant rise in recent years.Below you'll find a description of six important rankings and their methodology, as well as links to their published results.
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Times Higher Education World University Ranking
The University of Amsterdam is ranked 83rd in the 2012-13 THE World University ranking. Six other Dutch universities are listed in the top 100, and almost all Dutch universities can be found in the top 200.
Until 2009, the THE World University Rankings were developed in cooperation with QS. In 2010, THE selected Thomson Reuters as their new rankings data provider. A new ranking methodology was developed, using 13 performance indicators. These indicators fall into five categories with different weightings in the final ranking score: citations (30%), research (30%), teaching (30%), international outlook (7.5%), and industry income (2.5%).
QS World University Rankings
In the 2012-13 QS ranking, the UvA is ranked 62d overall, the highest-ranked Dutch university on the list. In four of the five rankings per domain, the UvA is listed in the top 75: Social Sciences & Management (41), Arts & Humanities (43), Life Sciences & Medicine (69) en Natural Sciences (75).
As of 2010, QS publishes its World University Ranking independently. Previously, the QS ranking was established in partnership with THE. The ranking ranks the top 700 universities in the world and is based on scores for the quality of research (citations and peer review), student-to-faculty ratio, the proportion of international students and faculty, and the reputation of institutions among employers.
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking)
In 2012, the UvA is in the 101-150 group in this worldwide top 500 ranking. Here too, the UvA is included in four of the five field rankings, including a 44th position for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy and a listing in the Social Sciences top 75.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is also a global ranking published annually by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (which is why it is also known as the Shanghai Ranking). Institutions are ranked according to the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals awarded to staff members and alumni and the number of citations and articles in Nature and Science.
The Leiden Ranking, drawn up by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University, assesses research results, based on bibliometric data from Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science. This ranking focuses only on publications in the sciences and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the social sciences. The arts and humanities are excluded because in these domains the bibliometric indicators of the Leiden Ranking do not have sufficient accuracy. Only universities with more than 500 publications in Web of Science per year are taken into consideration.
In the 2011 ranking, the average number of citations of the publications of the UvA, normalized for field differences, publication year, and document type, falls within the top 20% of the 500 institutions worldwide with the most publications. 13.8% of the UvA publications belong to the top 10% most frequently cited publications in their field each year. The UvA also does well in terms of the new indicators collaborative publications (top 10% worldwide) and international collaborative publications (top 20% worldwide).
The HEEACT Ranking, or the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, is established by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT).
This ranking evaluates the scientific paper performance of universities, resulting in a worldwide top 500. This performance is assessed on the basis of eight indicators that fall into three criteria: research productivity (accounting for 20% of the score), research impact (30%), and research excellence (50%). It is based primarily on publications in clinical, natural, technical and life sciences, and to a lesser extent, social sciences. Arts and Humanities are not taken into account.
Compared with the Shanghai ranking, which is also based on research performance, the HEEACT ranking aims to:
- Place greater emphasis on the quality of research (80% of the performance score)
- Be less biased towards larger universities
- Be less biased towards longer-established universities
In 2011, the University of Amsterdam was ranked 68th in the HEEACT Ranking.
The German Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE), has developed rankings that are established very differently from the rankings mentioned above.
The University Ranking mainly evaluates bachelor programmes in Germany and a nunber of neighbouring countries. The UvA has participated in the rankings of the following subject areas: Biology, English, History, Computer Science, Physics, Educational Sciences, Psychology, Romance languages and cultures, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
Until 2010, the CHE also published the Excellence Ranking. This ranking pertained to master and Ph.D. programmes. Per subject area, a limited number of universities throughout Europe were selected for this ranking on the basis of excellence with respect to various research- and internationalisation-indicators. The Excellence Ranking has been established in the areas of Biology, Economics, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Chemistry, and Mathematics. The UvA is the only Dutch university to have been selected for all areas of the Excellence Ranking.
The CHE rankings differ in a number of ways from the rankings mentioned earlier:
- Rankings are not compiled for universities in their entirety;
- There is no absolute ranking. In the University Ranking, programmes are divided into ‘top', ‘middle' and ‘bottom' groups for each criterion. In the Excellence Ranking, only the best programmes are listed, and the strong points of the programmes are highlighted;
- The ranking is multidimensional; the user can compare programmes by those criteria that are important to him/her;
- The ranking is compiled on the basis of both factual data and students' judgements.