Sunday, October 11, 2015

More on Politics and Rankings

The Higher Education Minister of Malaysia has praised the country's leading university, Universiti Malaya (UM) for getting into the top 150 of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. He also noted that UM and other Malaysian universities had done well in the QS subject rankings.

The problem with relying on QS or Times Higher Education (THE) is that they are prone to volatility because of  reliance on reputation surveys that can be unstable outside the top dozen or so universities. Things have been made worse this year by methodological  changes. In the case of QS one change was to give more credit to citations in the humanities and social sciences thereby helping universities that publish mainly or entirely in English.

A more consistent view of university performance might be found in the Shanghai or US News rankings.


Edward said...

I agree completely with the author. The British QS and THE ranking tables are too subjective, and are not as trustworthy as the other two: Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) and the US News Global Ranking.

Anonymous said...

ARWU may well be more stable than QS. But come on, isn't ARWU really relevant only for those very few universities that win Nobel prizes regularly and/or hire (potential) Nobelists regularly? One is tempted to think that the most interesting rankings are the National Taiwan University ranking and the US News (despite the role of the reputation survey), and even in their cases mainly the subject rankings.