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9 World University rankings - Side by side - part 1

The different world university rankings are somewhat controversial. Their methodology are often dissected to show flaws and universities often dislike them because of the influence they have come to wield. Not one ranking has been hailed as “the” definitive ranking and this is why we have so many. If your institution is well ranked in one, you usually think it’s good vs. the other poorly done ranking that has you at the bottom of the scale since its selections or point system are just plain wrong.
So how do you make heads or tails of all of this? Don’t worry, we won’t try. We simply decided to take all of them and average out the rankings to see who is where.
How did we do this? First we identified world rankings. A good list can be found at the following wikipedia page. We only kept the world (not regional) rankings that have posted a minimum of 400 universities and are at least dated 2011.
The remaining 9 are:
  1. Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) - commonly known as the Shanghai Ranking – from China - 2012
  2. G-factor – from the USA - 2011
  3. HEEACT—Ranking of Scientific Papers – from Taiwan -2012
  4. Leiden Rankings  from the Netherlands - 2011/2012
  5. QS World University Rankings – from the United Kingdom - 2012
  6. SCImago Institutions Rankings – from Spain - 2012
  7. Times Higher Education World University Rankings (or THE World University Rankings) – from the United Kingdom - 2012-13
  8. University Ranking By Academic Performance (UR by AP) – from Turkey - 2012
  9. Webometrics – from Spain - 2013
We compiled the data, matched up the universities and averaged out the numbers. Only the universities that are on all 9 rankings are in this list.
For those who have a keen eye.
  • In the G-factor column, the #6 is missing. It’s actually ranked at the 122nd place.
  • In the Leiden column, the # 4 only has 8 rankings (it doesn’t have the Times Higher Education ranking) and the #10 is ranked in the 119th.
  • In the THE column, there are two #2. This is not an error, it's a tie in the Times Higher Education ranking.



Hi, I quite liked this. Had done a similar exercise but in a slightly smaller scale and for internal purposes only. Was glad to see that I was not alone in doing this.

But I have a detailed question; you mention "Leiden Ranking" but as far as I know there really isn't such a thing. Well, of course there is the website, but the user can pick and choose the indicators and ways to normalise etc. How did you come to choose the option you did out of so many?

Hi Markus,
As stated in the Leiden Ranking methodology page (, “The Leiden Ranking 2011/2012 is based on publications in Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database in the period 2005-2009". They explain in more detail how they compile there data and since it is listed in several publication and met my criteria’s of World ranking, minimum of a top 400 and dated at a minimum 2011, I saved it.
At the default ranking page ( the list of 500 universities appears without any applied filters. This is the list that was used.

Hi Justin

Our rector wanted to spread your compilation among our deans so you should expect some more traffic here...

Anyway regarding the Leiden ranking it seems to me that when you go to the site, the default choice is to rank by PP (Top 10%) but also to "Normalize for university size" and to "Leave out non-English language publications. Now, if you only remove "Normalize..." our rank changes from 246 to 97. And I am not saying you should, but I am just saying that the decision should be based on something else besides what the default settings are. Because quite clearly they are not "without any applied filters".

Hi Markus,

Thanks for re-posting.
I'm re-reading the info on the web and you might be right about the non-English publications. I will do an extract and compare the data.
I will get back to you shortly.


What is the total number of universities appearing in all 9 rankings. I suppose it's higher that the top 100 shown in the list.

Good question...I never mentioned that.

232 universities appear in all 9 rankings.


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