Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Best Universities for Research

It seems to be the time of year when there a slow trickle of university ranking spin-offs before the big three world rankings starting in August. We have had young university rankings, best student cities, most international universities, BRICS rankings.

Something is missing though, a ranking of top universities for research. So to assuage the pent up demand here are the top 20 universities for research according to six different ranking indicators. There is considerable variation with only two universities, Harvard and Stanford, appearing in every list.

First the top twenty universities for research output according to Scimago. This is measured by publications in the Scopus database over a five year period.

1.   Harvard
2.   Tokyo
3.   Toronto
4.   Tsinghua
5.   Sao Paulo
6.   Michigan Ann Arbor
7.   Johns Hopkins
8.   UCLA
9.   Zhejiang
10. University of Washington
11. Stanford
12. Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
13. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
14. University College London
15. Oxford
16. Universite Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6
17. University of Pennsylvania
18. Cambridge
19. Kyoto
20. Columbia

Next we have the normalized impact scores from Scimago, which measure citations to research publications taking account of field. This might be considered a measure of the quality of research rather than quantity. Note that a university would not be harmed if it had a large number of non-performing faculty who never wrote papers.

1.   MIT
2.   Harvard
3.   University of California San Francisco
4=  Stanford
4=  Princeton
6.   Duke
7.   Rice
8.   Chicago
9=  Columbia
9=  University of California Berkeley
9=  University of California Santa Cruz
12.  University Of California Santa Barbara
13.  Boston University
14= Johns Hopkins
14= University of Pennsylvania
16.  University of California San Diego
17= UCLA
17= University of Washington
17= Washington University of St Louis
20.  Oxford

The citations per faculty indicator in the QS World University Rankings also uses Scopus. It is not normalized by field so medical schools and technological institutes can do very well.

1.   Weizmann Institute of Technology
2.   Caltech
3.   Rockefeller University
4.   Harvard
5.   Stanford
6.   Gwanju Institute of Science and Technology
7.   UCLA
8.   University of California San Francisco
9.   Karolinska Institute
10. University of California Santa Barbara
11. University of California San Diego
12. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
13. MIT
14. Georgia Institute of Technology
15. University of Washington
16. Northwestern University
17. Emory
18. Tel Aviv
19. Minnesota Twin Cities
20. Cornell

The Times Higher Education -- Thomson Reuters Research Impact Citations Indicator is normalized by field (250 of them) and by year of publication. In addition, there is a "regional modification" that gives a big boost to universities in countries with generally low impact scores. A good score on this indicator can be obtained by contributing to multi-contributor publications, especially in physics, providing that total publications do not rise too much.

1=  MIT
1=  Tokyo Metropolitan University
3=  University of California Santa Cruz
3=  Rice
5.   Caltech
6.   Princeton
7.   University of California Santa Barbara
8.   University of California Berkeley
9=  Harvard
9=  Stanford
11. Florida Institute of Technology
12. Chicago
13. Royal Holloway,University of London
14.  University of Colorado Boulder
15= Colorado School of Mines
15= Northwestern
17= Duke
17= Universty of California San Diego
19.  Washington University of St Louis
20.  Boston College

The Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities Highly Cited indicator counts the number of researchers on the lists compiled by Thomson Reuters. It seems that new lists will now be produced every year so this indicator could become less stable.

1.   Harvard
2.   Stanford
3.   MIT
4.   University of California Berkeley
5.   Princeton
6.   Michigan Ann Arbor
7.   University of California San Diego
8.   Yale
9.   University of Pennsylvania
10.   UCLA
11=  Caltech
11=  Columbia
13.   University of Washington
14.   Cornell
15.   Cambridge.
16.   University of California San Francisco
17.   Chicago
18    University of Wisconsin Madison
19    University of Minnesota Twin Cities
20.   Oxford

Finally, the MNCS indicator from the Leiden Ranking, which is the number of field normalized citations per paper. It is possible for a few widely cited papers in the right discipline to have a disproportionate effect. The high placing for Gottingen results from a single computer science paper the citation of which is required for intellectual property reasons.

1.    MIT
2.    Gottingen
3.    Princeton
4.    Caltech
5.    Stanford
6.    Rice
7.    University of California Santa Barbara
8.    University of California Berkeley
9     Harvard
10   University of California Santa Cruz
11.  EPF Lausanne
12.  Yale
13   University of California San Francisco
14.  Chicago
15.  University of California San Diego
16.  Northwestern
17.  University of  Colorado Boulder
18.  Columbia
19.  University of Texas Austin
20.  UCLA

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