Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University ranking systems seriously flawed

25.10.2007
Thousands of high school students are currently deliberating over which university to attend next year. But which are the best? A study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine warns against using international rankings of universities to answer this question. They are misleading and should be abandoned, the study concludes.

The study focuses on the published 2006 rankings of The Times Higher Education Supplement "World University Rankings" and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University "Academic Ranking of World Universities". It found that only 133 institutions were shared between the top-200 lists of the Shanghai and Times rankings; four of the top-50 in the Shanghai list did not even appear among the first 500 universities of the Times ranking.

The study's authors argue that such discrepancies stem from poor methodology and inappropriate indicators, making the ranking systems invalid.

The Shanghai system, for example, measures research excellence in part by the number of Nobel- and Fields-winning alumni at the institution. However, few universities boast laureates on their staff, and their presence does not necessarily lead to better undergraduate education. Furthermore, the prize-winning staff usually have performed their ground-breaking work at another institution, so the measurement really addresses the ability of institutions to attract prestigious awardees rather than being the site where ground-breaking work is done.

The Times ranking, on the other hand, places great emphasis on the results of a survey sent out to more than 190,000 researchers. They are asked to list what they think are the top 30 universities in their field of research. Yet this survey is entirely opinion-based, and with a response rate below 1% may contain significant bias.

"There are flaws in the way that almost every indicator is used to compile these two popular rankings," says John Ioannidis, who led the analysis team. "I don't disagree that excellence is important to define, measure, interpret and improve, but the existing ranking criteria could actually harm science and education."

The study authors call for global collaboration to standardise data on key aspects of universities and other institutions, and any flaws should be openly admitted and not underestimated. "Evaluation exercises should not force spurious averages and oversimplified rankings for the many faces of excellence," says Ioannidis. "And efforts to improve institutions should not focus just on the numbers being watched."

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>