Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Geography of Excellence: the Importance of Weighting


So finally, the 2015 QS subject rankings were published. It seems that the first attempt was postponed when the original methodology produced implausible fluctuations, probably resulting from the volatility that is inevitable when there are a small number of data points -- citations and survey responses -- outside the top 50 for certain subjects.

QS have done some tweaking, some of it aimed at smoothing out the fluctuations in the responses to their academic and employer surveys.

These rankings look at bit different from the World University Rankings. Cambridge has the most top ten placings (31), followed by Oxford and Stanford (29 each), Harvard (28), Berkeley (26) and MIT (16).

But in the world rankings MIT is in first place, Cambridge second, Imperial College London third, Harvard fourth and Oxford and University College London joint fifth.

The subject rankings use two indicators from the world, the academic survey and the employer survey but not internationalisation, student faculty ratio and citations per faculty. They add two indicators, citations per paper and h-index.

The result is that the London colleges do less well in the subject rankings since they do not benefit from their large numbers of international students and faculty. Caltech, Princeton and Yale also do relatively badly probably because the new rankings do not take account of their low faculty student faculty ratios.

The lesson of this is that if weighting is not everything, it is definitely very important.

Below is a list of universities ordered by the number of top five placings. There are signs of the Asian advance --  Peking, Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore -- but it is an East Asian advance.

Europe is there too but it is Cold Europe -- Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden -- not the Mediterranean.


RankUniversityCountryNumber of Top Five Places
1   HarvardUSA26
2CambridgeUK20
3OxfordUK18
4   StanfordUSA17
5=MITUSA16
5=UC BerkeleyUSA16
7London School of EconomicsUK7
8=University College LondonUK3
8=ETH ZurichSwitzerland 3
10=New York UniversityUSA2
10=Yale  USA2
10=Delft University of TechnologyNetherlands2
10=National University of SingaporeSingapore2
10=UC Los AngelesUSA2
10=UC DavisUSA2
10=Cornell USA2
10=Wisconsin - MadisonUSA2
10-MichiganUSA2
10=Imperial College LondonUK2
20=WagenginenNetherlands1
20=University of Southern California USA1
20=Pratt Institute, New YorkUSA1
20=Rhode Island School of DesignUSA1
20=Parsons: the New School for Design USA1
20=Royal College of Arts LondonUK1
20=MelbourneAustralia1
20=Texas-AustinUSA1
20=Sciences PoFrance1
20=PrincetonUSA1
20=YaleUSA1
20=ChicagoUSA1
20=ManchesterUK1
20=University of PennsylvaniaUSA1
20=DurhamUK1
20=INSEADFrance1
20=London Business SchoolUK1
20=NorthwesternUSA1
20=UtrechtNetherlands1
20=GuelphCanada1
20=Royal Veterinary College LondonUK1
20=UC San FranciscoUSA1
20=Johns  HopkinsUSA1
20=KU LeuvenUSA1
20=GothenburgSweden1
20=Hong KongHong Kong1
20=Karolinska InstituteSweden1
20=SussexUK1
20=Carnegie Mellon UniversityUSA1
20=RutgersUSA1
20=PittsburghUSA1
20=PekingChina1
20=PurdueUSA1
20=Georgia Institute ofTechnologyUSA1
20=EdinburghUK1

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