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Historical compilation of 7 world universities rankings: huge drop for US, rise for French

After reading an article from HESA where the author explains (referring to Times Higher Education’s annual Reputation Rankings) that “only the position of the top 6 or so is genuinely secure.  Below about tenth position, everyone else is packed so closely together that changes in rank order are basically guaranteed”, we wanted to see how much movement there was at the bottom of the rankings.
 
How did we do this?
 
We took 7 world rankings that had some historical data (see note). We selected the years 2010 and 2012 and subtracted the average of the 7 rankings for the 2010 rank from the average of the 2012 rank. For example, Yale University has the overall average rank of “12” in 2010 and “14” in 2012. The equation would be 12 -14 = -2.
 
If you click on one of the countries, the bottom graph will only include the universities from that specific country.

A few observations:

Top and Bottom countries by total + or – ranks

  • European universities have generally improved their rankings
  • Sweden's quality education system is looking fragile from this angle
  • North American universities, as a group, look as if they have passed their peek
  • Could the massive cuts in US higher education explain the slumping in the rankings?
  • Most countries, 28 out 39,  remain in the + or - 100 range. The others are as follows:
 
Countries
Total Difference in rank
France
+610
Netherlands
+278
Korea
+261
Germany
+175
China
+139
Hong Kong
+123
Sweden
-129
Israel
-139
Canada
-248
Japan
-323
United States
-1469 
 
 
 Top 10 University biggest increase

  • The biggest increases are not seen in all newer institutions. They are a mixture of new and old universities: University of Strasbourg (1538), Joseph Fourier University (1811), Wageningen University and Research Centre (1918), King Saud University (1957), Sungkyunkwan University (1393), Nanyang Technological University (1991), Radboud University Nijmegen (1923), Korea University (1905), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (1937) and Cardiff University (1883)
Difference in rank
University
Country
+222
France
+133
France
+116
Netherlands
+92
Saudi Arabia
+88
Korea
+73
Singapore
+66
Netherlands
+66
Korea
+63
Hong Kong
+61
United Kingdom
 
 
Bottom 10 Universities
 
  • 50% of the bottom 10 are from the USA.
  • 80% the 5 USA universities are publicly funded
 
Difference in rank
University
Country
-51
Japan
-54
United Kingdom
-57
United States
-61
Sweden
-62
United States
-62
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Private
United States
-90
Israel
-93
United States
-106
United States
-120
Sweden
 
 

Note:
A total of 398 universities had 5 or more rankings in 2010 and 2012.
 

The rankings that we used - Country of the Ranking - years used 

1.    Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) - commonly known as the Shanghai Ranking – from China - 2010 and 2012
2.    HEEACT—Ranking of Scientific Papers – from Taiwan -2010 and 2012
3.    QS World University Rankings – from the United Kingdom - 2009 and 2012
4.    SCImago Institutions Rankings – from Spain - 2010 and 2012
5.    Times Higher Education World University Rankings (or THE World University Rankings) – from the United Kingdom – 2010 and 2012
6.    University Ranking By Academic Performance (UR by AP) – from Turkey - 2010 and 2012
7.    Webometrics – from Spain – 2010 and 2012 
 

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