THES - QS World University Rankings

THES - QS World University Rankings

The THES - QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings around the world, published by "The Times Higher Education Supplement" (THES) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). The full listings feature on the QS website and on the THES website. They have been running since 2004 and are broken down by subject and region.

The ranking weights are:
*Peer Review Score (40%)
*Recruiter Review (10%)
*International Faculty Score (5%)
*International Students Score (5%)
*Faculty/Student Score (20%)
*Citations/Faculty Score (20%).

"THES - QS World University Rankings" (Top 20)


The THES rankings have been publicised by the leading UK newspapers, such as "The Guardian" [ [,,1888151,00.html "Oxbridge closes gap on Harvard in world university rankings"] ] and "The Times" [ [ "Britain and America dominate list of best universities"] ] (which are not part of the same organisation).

Several universities in the UK and the Asia-Pacific region have also commented on the rankings. Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, Professor Judith Kinnear says the THES-QS ranking is a “wonderful external acknowledgement of several University attributes, including the quality of its research, research training, teaching and employability.“ She says the rankings are a true measure of a university’s ability to fly high internationally: “The Times Higher Education ranking provides a rather more and more sophisticated, robust and well rounded measure of international and national ranking than either New Zealand’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) measure or the Shanghai rankings.” [ [ Flying high internationally] ]

Ian Leslie, the pro-vice chancellor for research at Cambridge University said: "It is very reassuring that the collegiate systems of Cambridge and Oxford continue to be valued by and respected by peers, and that the excellence of teaching and of research at both institutions is reflected in these rankings." [ [,,1888151,00.html "Oxbridge closes gap on Harvard in world university rankings"] ]

The vice-chancellor of Oxford University, Mr. John Hood, said: "The exceptional talents of Oxford's students and staff are on display daily. This last year has seen many faculty members gaining national and international plaudits for their teaching, scholarship and research, and our motivated students continue to achieve in a number of fields, not just academically. Our place amongst the handful of truly world-class universities, despite the financial challenges we face, is testament to the quality and the drive of the members of this university's environment." [ [,,1888151,00.html "Oxbridge closes gap on Harvard in world university rankings"] ]

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in Australia, Professor Gerard Sutton, said the ranking was a testament to a university’s standing in the international community, identifying… “an elite group of world-class universities.” [ [ "UOW listed in Top 200 World University Rankings"] ]


The THES - QS World University Rankings had attracted criticisms ever since it was first published in 2004 as being “non-representative” and “self-promoting” because of using categories that would highly favour British universities. Notably, 2-3 British universities consistently rank among the top five in the world in the THES ranking, which are often not ranked in the top ten according to other global university rankings (Cambridge University being the exception; however, Oxford does not frequently appear in the top ten of other rankings). [ The THES University Rankings: Are They Really World Class? by Richard Holmes] ] The Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University has been suggested to be more respectable despite its perceived bias towards the natural sciences. [ Response to Review of Strategic Plan by Peter Wills] ] [ The THES Rankings and the Dawn of Global Higher Education Data Standards by Alex Usher] ] The THES Rankings have been criticized [ The THES University Rankings: Are They Really World Class? by Richard Holmes] ] for placing too much emphasis on peer review, which receives 40% of the overall score. Some have expressed concern on the manner in which the peer review has been carried out. In a certain report [ Response to Review of Strategic Plan by Peter Wills] ] , Peter Wills from the University of Auckland, New Zealand wrote of the QS-THES Ranking:

Some errors have also been reported on the faculty-student ratio used in the ranking. At the [ 16th Annual New Zealand International Education Conference] held at Christchurch, New Zealand in August 2007, [ Simon Marginson] presented a paper [ Rankings: Marketing Mana or Menace? by Simon Marginson] ] which outlines the fundamental flaws underlying the QS-THES Rankings. A similar article [,20867,20877456-12332,00.html Rankings Ripe for Misleading by Simon Marginson] ] (also published by the same author) appeared in [ The Australian] newspaper in December 2006. Some of the points mentioned include:

#The pool of responses is heavily weighted in favour of academic ‘peers’ from nations where the Times is well-known, such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and so on.
#Results have been highly volatile. There have been many sharp rises and falls, especially in the second half of the THES top200 where small differences in metrics can generate large rankings effects. Fudan in China has oscillated between 72 and 195, RMIT in Australia between 55 and 146. In the US, Emory has risen from 173 to 56 and Purdue fell from 59 to 127.
#The performance of the Australian universities is also inflated. Despite a relatively poor citation rate and moderate staffing ratios they do exceptionally well in the reputational academic survey and internationalisation indicators, especially that for students. Australia has 13 of the THES top 200 and appears as the third strongest system in the world, ahead of Japan, Canada, Germany and western Europe (the G7 nations). This makes sense in relation to Australia’s international marketing but not all round performance or reputation.

Although THES-QS had introduced several changes in methodology in 2007 which were aimed at addressing some of the above criticisms [Sowter, Ben (1 November 2007). [ THES – QS World University Rankings 2007 - Basic explanation of key enhancements in methodology for 2007] "] , the ranking has continued to attract criticisms. In an article [ International ranking systems for universities and institutions: a critical appraisal by John Ioannidis et. al.] ] in the peer-reviewed BMC Journal authored by several scientists from USA and Greece, it was pointed out:

bquote|"If properly performed, most scientists would consider peer review to have very good construct validity; many may even consider it the gold standard for appraising excellence. However, even peers need some standardized input data to peer review. The Times simply asks eachexpert to list the 30 universities they regard as top institutions of their area without offering input data on any performance indicators. Research products may occasionally be more visible to outsiders, but it is unlikely that any expert possesses a global view of the inner workings of teaching at institutions worldwide. Moreover, the expert selection process of The Times is entirely unclear. The survey response rate among the selected experts was only <1% in 2006 (1 600 of 190 000 contacted). In the absence of any guarantee for protection from selectionbiases, measurement validity can be very problematic."

Alex Usher, Vice President of the Educational Policy Institute in USA, commented: [ The THES Rankings and the Dawn of Global Higher Education Data Standards by Alex Usher] ]

The latest criticism of the QS-THES league tables came from Andrew Oswald, Professor or Economics at University of Warwick: [ There's nothing Nobel in deceiving ourselves by Andrew Oswald, The Independent on Sunday] ]

bquote|"Such claims do us a disservice. The organisations who promote such ideas should be unhappy themselves, and so should any supine UK universities who endorse results they view as untruthful. Using these league table results on your websites, universities, if in private you deride the quality of the findings, is unprincipled and will ultimately be destructive of yourselves, because if you are not in the truth business what business are you in, exactly? Worse, this kind of material incorrectly reassures the UK government that our universities are international powerhouses. Let us instead, a bit more coolly, do what people in universities are paid to do. Let us use reliable data to try to discern the truth. In the last 20 years, Oxford has won no Nobel Prizes. (Nor has Warwick.) Cambridge has done only slightly better. Stanford University in the United States, purportedly number 19 in the world, garnered three times as many Nobel Prizes over the past two decades as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge did combined. "


ee also

*College and university rankings
*Harvard University
*Yale University
*University of Cambridge
*Quacquarelli Symonds

External links

* [ The Times Higher - official website]
* [ QS - official website and full top 200 listings from 2006 to 2008]
* [ THE Rankings]
* [ THES World University Rankings 2008]

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