University Rankings – Editorial and Article in Nature
Fortunately, a new generation of ranking systems has begun to address some of these issues (see page 16). These systems make an effort to be more multidimensional, comparing universities less on single, aggregate numbers, and more on specific aspects such as research, teaching, and regional and industrial engagement. They have also moved towards comparing like institutions with like, instead of lumping together massively funded universities such as Harvard in the same list as smaller institutions that may be excellent in their own ways. And, perhaps most importantly, they have begun a long-overdue shift from the publication of simple tables to publishing the databases that support the tables, so that users can do online queries to compare organizations by criteria that are relevant to them.
It also carries an an excellent article by Declan Butler which indicates that there is to be yet another ranking system:
Comparing like with like is the cornerstone of a European Commission effort to create a global database of universities — the Multi-dimensional Global ranking of Universities (U-Multirank). A pilot project involving 150 universities will be launched in the coming months by a group of German, Dutch, Belgian and French research centres that specialize in research and education metrics, known as the Consortium for Higher Education and Research Performance Assessment.
The ‘positive manifold’ analysis awaits!