QS World University Rankings process in brief

by Baerbel Eckelmann

Another QS World University Rankings cycle is coming to its conclusion soon and many of you are certainly in immense anticipation of its publication.

Once released the main focus is on ‘one’ figure: the overall rank. But, behind this one figure lies a very complex process and the following article is a brief summary of it:

The QS World University Rankings® currently evaluates over 700 universities in the world and there are plans to broaden our work, not too much in terms of further increasing the number of institutions evaluated but in deepening details provided to users. You can be part of this process as a) new institution interested in participation or b) institution already on our initial list.

We invite new institutions to make a case to us for inclusion in the rankings, which is based on domestic rankings or other measures that portray their institution in a positive light relative to other institutions already included in our list. To keep the user interface manageable, the institutions also have to fulfill the following criteria:

    • must run undergraduate AND graduate/postgraduate programs
    • must run programs that objectively qualify under more than one of the 5 broad faculty areas (Arts & Humanities, Engineering & IT, Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences)
    • must provide the most accurate data on academic faculty, undergraduate and graduate students referring to the last annual reporting period

Once accepted, the institution nominates at least one primary research contact who should have access to required statistics and who will be able to submit all relevant information into our QS Core online database meeting set deadlines. The contact will also receive all correspondence related to the rankings project.

All submitted data goes through a validation process initiated by a member of the QS Intelligence Unit, who seeks clarification when submitted values may not reflect actual university reality. In order to ensure data consistency, QSIU also utilizes third-party sources such as statistical agencies or Ministries of Education.

The rankings results are compiled with the aim to most precisely evaluate university activity, focusing on six key aspects which can be broken down into quantitative and qualitative measures with different weightings assigned. The former measures universities in terms of student commitment (Student-Faculty Ratio 20%), research commitment (Citations per Faculty 20%) and international commitment (International Students and Faculty 5% each); the latter composites scores drawn from the Peer Review, 40%, and Employer Review, 10%.

Scopus ™ supplies QSIU with publication data and citation counts. In order to streamline the process, we ask institutions to submit to us ([email protected]) a list of all possible name variations of their institution.

Other supporting documents we require and hence invite institutions to provide are a) a list of academic contact details and b) a list of employer contact details. An academic and employer sign-up facility is also in place allowing all interested academics and employers to voice their interest in becoming a member of the peer group. (Watch this space for the 2012 academic and employer sign-up facilities)

If you have any further questions please contact the QSIU Research Manager Ms Baerbel Eckelmann ([email protected]).

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