Best Research University Rankings – 2008

Posted on September 9, 2008  Comments (10)

The annual ranking of research Universities are available from Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University. The methodology values publications and faculty awards which provides a better ranking of research (rather than teaching). Results from the 2008 rankings of Top 500 Universities worldwide, country representation of the top schools:

location Top 100 % of World
% of World GDP % of top 500

54     4.6%   27.2%  31.6%
United Kingdom

11  0.9  4.9 8.3

  6  1.3  6.0 8.0

  4  2.0  9.0 6.2

  4  0.5  2.6 4.2

  4  0.1  0.8 2.2

  3  0.8  4.6 4.6

  3  0.1  0.8 1.6

  3  0.3  1.6 3.0

  2  0.2  1.4 2.4

  2  0.1  0.6 0.8

  1  0.1  0.4 1.2

  1  0.1  0.7 0.8

  1  0.1  0.3 1.2

  1  2.2  2.0 0.4

 20.5  6.6 6.0

 17.0  1.9 0.4

There is little change in most of the data from last year, which I think is a good sign, it wouldn’t make much sense to have radical shifts over a year in these rankings. Japan lost 2 schools in the top 100, France lost 1. Denmark (Aarhus University) and Australia (University of Sydney) gained 1. Last year there was a tie so there were 101 schools in the top 100.

The most dramatic data I noticed is China’s number of top 500 schools went from 14 to 30, which made me a bit skeptical of what caused that quick change. Looking more closely last year they reported the China top 500 totals as (China 14, China-Taiwan 6 and China-Hong Kong 5). That still gives them an impressive gain of 5 schools.

Singapore has 1 in the 102-151 range. Taiwan has 1 ranked in the 152-200 range, as do Mexico, Korea and Brazil. China has 9 in the 201-302 range (including 3 in Hong Kong). India has 2 in the 303-401 range.

University of Wisconsin – Madison is 17th again 🙂 My father taught there while I grew up.

Top 10 schools (same schools as last year):

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • Cambridge University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University Chicago
  • Oxford University

I find this whole ranking interesting (even with the limitations). I repeat my prediction from last year (as would most, I would imagine) that China and India will have much greater representation 10-20 years from now (those gains will have to come at the expense of others and I would imagine Europe and the USA will show declines).

Related: 2006 rankings of the World’s Best Research Universities2007 rankings of the World’s Best Research UniversitiesCountry H-index Rank for Science PublicationsTop 10 Manufacturing Countries 2006Asia: Rising Stars of Science and Engineering

Some of the things I wish they would adjust.

  • Some method of valuing company creation (by “alumni”, even people that do so before graduating, and faculty) – giving larger value the greater the economic gain provided by the company. Also other ways of valuing economic value creation.
  • Split credit for Nobel and Fields winners among where they are when they won, where they did the research and where they are now (I can imagine this would be a huge hassle still I think it would be interesting – and it seems we should be able to devote a few people to making developing some really interesting data I think many people would find interesting). Now all credit goes to where they are when they win. They also give credit to the schools the award winners received degrees from (which I like).
  • Add some additional awards to the calculations – there is a problem in that many awards are geographic or country specific still ideally add more.
  • Additional examining of the citation importance – I like what they are doing, I just would like to see more in that area.
  • Include more journals in the count of output of articles – again I can understand the difficulty, I just would like to see that added, ideally.

10 Responses to “Best Research University Rankings – 2008”

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  2. Nick
    December 21st, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

    I always like it when uinversity rankings come out, as it becomes interesting to see what universities have gone down and which other ones have improved. Although, I only wish a UK university could reach a higher place than 4th!

    Also, I agree with your additions on adapting the methods of completion – I think that sourcing information on the alumni will add to the relability of the list and prove to many that the top universities deserve to be at the top.

    Reviewing the research quality of individual academic institutions as well as the influence journal articles have had to different industries will also be beneficial.

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  6. Karlo
    July 18th, 2009 @ 2:07 am

    sadly there is no my country in this list 🙁

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