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QS World University Rankings 2015/16

QS World University Rankings 2015/16

World’s most popular global university ranking, and the most diverse

www.TopUniversities.com/rankings2015
#QSWUR

London, 15th September: Based on web traffic* social media metrics**and estimated online consumers (>100m in 2015); the QS World University Rankings is by far the most popular annual league table of world universities.

The twelfth edition confirms Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the world’s top university followed by Harvard (2nd), Cambridge and Stanford (3rd=) while ETH Zurich (9th) breaks into the top 10.

Singapore’s leading universities gain substantially, each making the top 15 for the first time. National University of Singapore (12th) is the leading Asian institution and Nanyang Technological University (13th) is right behind them, taking a quantum leap.  
Australian National University (19th) also returns to the top 20.
China’s Tsinghua University (25th) is Asia’s third best university, leading a strong Chinese cohort.

76,798 academics and 44,226 employers contributed to the rankings through the QS global surveys, the largest of their kind and QS analyzed 11.1 million research papers - indexed by Elsevier’s Scopus database.  3,539 institutions were considered for inclusion and 891 ranked.

A modified approach to “citations per faculty”, a measure of research impact, has delivered fairer evaluations for universities with a strong profile in areas with lower research activity, such as arts, humanities and social sciences. LSE (35th) and other leading institutions traditionally overshadowed by research-intensive universities, see their excellence more equitably recognized.

Ben Sowter, QS head of research says: “These latest results reveal more diversity than ever in the distribution of world-class universities at the highest levels. We’re providing prospective students with the richest picture yet.”

 2015

2014

Top 20

Country

1

1

MIT

US

2

4

HARVARD

US

  3=

  2=

CAMBRIDGE

UK

  3=

7

STANFORD

US

5

8

CALTECH

US

6

  5=

OXFORD

UK

7

  5=

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

UK

8

  2=

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

UK

9

12

ETH ZURICH

CH

10

11

CHICAGO

US

11

9

PRINCETON

US

12

22

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY SINGAPORE

SG

13

39

NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

SG

14

  17=

EPFL

CH

15

10

YALE

US

16

  14=

JOHNS HOPKINS

US

17

19

CORNELL

US

18

13

U PENN

US

  19=

  25=

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY

AU

  19=

16

KING'S COLLEGE LONDON

UK

© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2015  www.TopUniversities.com


The rankings include universities from 82 countries. Thirty-four countries feature in the Top 200. The United States dominate, with 49 institutions, ahead of the UK (30), Netherlands (12), Germany (11), Canada, Australia, and Japan (8), China (7), France, Sweden and Hong Kong (5). 

*(Alexa;SimilarWeb)
**(Facebook;LinkedIn;YouTube)

 

For more information and to request interviews with QS experts please contact:

Simona Bizzozero
Head of PR
+44 (0) 7880620856
simona@qs.com
@QS_pressoffice

Notes for the editors

QS World University Rankings ®

The QS World University Rankings is an annual league table of the top universities in the world and is arguably the best-known and respected ranking of its kind. Compiled by the QS Intelligence Unit in close consultation with an international advisory board of leading academics, the QS World University Rankings ® is widely referenced by prospective and current students, university professionals and governments worldwide. The purpose of the rankings has been to recognize universities as the multi-faceted organisations they are and to provide a global comparison of their success against their notional mission of becoming or remaining world-class. The QS World University Rankings are based on four key pillars, research, teaching, employability and internationalisation and the methodology consists of six indicators: academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), faculty student ratio (20%), citations per faculty (20%), international students (5%), and international faculty (5%).

Methodological enhancements

For the 2015/16 edition of the QS World University Rankings we have improved the depth of these surveys by making more use of historic data. In the past we have counted the latest response from any one respondent within the previous three years. If you responded a year ago and two years ago, for example, only last year’s response would be used. We are still following this rule. But in addition, we are now using data which is four or five years old as well, weighting these votes at a half or a quarter respectively of more recent ones. Again, this material is only used if the same person has not also voted more recently. As well as adding stability to the ranking, this change improves its consistency, meaning that we are using five years of data both for our surveys and for our citations measure.

Rationalising citations

The biggest change to this year’s Rankings applies to the measure which makes up the final 20 per cent of each institution’s possible score. This is the measure of citations per academic faculty member. This indicator looks radically different this year because we have introduced a system to compensate for the large volume of citations generated by researchers in the Life Sciences and, to a lesser degree, those in the Natural Sciences. The need for this process, which we term ‘normalisation’, is apparent when one considers that the medical sciences account for 49 per cent of the citations in the Scopus database used in these rankings but only 14 per cent of university students (UK figure). By contrast, the Arts and Humanities make up nearly 30 per cent of students but only one per cent of citations, because of their very different publishing culture.
We believe that it is right and fair to correct for this bias at the faculty level, in other words in terms of the Arts and Humanities; the Social Sciences, including Management; the Natural Sciences; Engineering and Technology; and the Biomedical Sciences. We have normalised the weight of these five areas in our academic survey since its creation in 2004.  The normalisation process works by weighting the citations from each of these areas at 20 per cent of the total.

But even this reform does not recognise the full variation in academic publishing patterns around the world. In the Arts and Humanities and in the Social Sciences, a large amount of research is not published in English and does not appear in journals, reducing its chance of appearing in Scopus’s citations database. We allow for this by further adjusting the citations in these two areas, but not the other three, in accordance with the publishing pattern in each university’s home country, as reflected in the total percentage of papers in Scopus in these two fields.

Finally, the data we use will continue to cover five years of the Scopus database. But it will no longer credit citations where the paper has more than ten affiliated institutions. This change cuts out only 0.34 per cent of Scopus papers. For more details, please check:
http://content.qs.com/qsiu/Faculty_Area_Normalization_-_Technical_Explanation.pdf

Key facts and figures

  • 76,798 academics and 44,226 employers’ responses contributed towards the results, making both surveys the largest of their kind in the world.
  • 3,539 institutions were considered for inclusion this year and 891 ranked, 28 more than in 2014
  • 11.1 million papers indexed by the the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database were analysed, 58.2 million citations counted which amounted to  44.9m citations once self-citations were excluded

 

QS Intelligence Unit www.iu.qs.com
QS has been conducting research in a range of areas since 1990 beginning with a global survey of MBA employers. The QS World University Rankings®, the most established of the range of research projects that QS operates, have been in existence since 2004. To meet the increasing public interest for comparative data on universities and organisations, and the growing demand for institutions to develop deeper insight into their competitive environment, the QS Intelligence Unit (QSIU) was formed in 2008 as a distinct and autonomous department. Committed to the key values of rigorous integrity, unique insight, undeniable value and accessible presentation, QSIU strives to be the most trusted independent source of global intelligence on the higher education sector.

Ben Sowter
Sowter is the Head of Research at QS, QS Intelligence Unit. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Nottingham, where he was also awarded the Union Prize for outstanding contribution to the student union and served as chairman of the Nottingham University Debating Society. Ben is fully responsible for the operational management of all major QS research projects and is actively involved in all the collection, compilation and tabulation of all the data that lead to, amongst others, the World University Rankings research with which he has been involved since its initial inception in 2004. A frequent contributor to the press, Ben’s opinion on global education trends and his expertise is used regularly by major global publications.

About Scopus
Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and features tools to track, analyse and visualize scholarly research. Its comprehensive database contains 55+ million items indexed from 21,000 titles from more than 5,000 publishers worldwide, ensuring broad interdisciplinary coverage in the fields of science, technology, medicine, social sciences and Arts and Humanities. Scopus was designed and developed with input from researchers and librarians and features direct links to subscribed full-text articles, other library resources and interoperability with applications such as reference management software. Scopus is part of the Elsevier Research Intelligence portfolio which includes the SciVal tools, the Pure system, rich data assets and custom Analytical Services.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey — and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 33,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

 


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