Rankings of Universities and Research Centers

Stephen J Bensman notsjb at LSU.EDU
Wed Aug 27 09:45:26 EDT 2014


I hate to rain on your little parade, but--what the hell--I will.  The first ranking of American universities was done  by James McKeen Cattell in 1906 in the following article:

Cattell, James McKeen. (1906)  A statistical study of American men of science, the selection of a group of one thousand scientific men. Science, 24, 658-665, 699-707, 732-742.

Your rankings are basically the same as his.  Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose,  Needless to say, Cattell was a eugenicist, and this is where all this academic ranking hysteria originates.  To make my point, I have attached a pdf of that part of his article, in which he presents his university and institutional rankings.  See in particular Tables III-IV on pp. 739-740.  They will look somewhat familiar to you.  The available evidence is that these rankings are not random but the result of some  process of "preferential attachment" to what institutions leading scientists adhere for study, teaching, and research, leading to high stability over time.  To beat upon another of my little drums, it seems strangely similar to how the WWW and Google PageRank operates.  That does not leave much hope for those trying to blast their way to the top.  It seems set in concrete.


Stephen J. Bensman, Ph.D.
LSU Librairies
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA  USA

PS I was in the Cal Band (Berkeley), and we used to call Stanford the "Leland Stanford Junior High," and that was before the days of mooning the crowd. 

-----Original Message-----
From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [mailto:SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] On Behalf Of Isidro F. Aguillo
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 6:16 AM
Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Rankings of Universities and Research Centers

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The new editions of the Rankings Web of Universities (now in its 11th
year) and Research Centers have been published with data collected during July 2014. The rankings consist now of close to 22000 Higher Education Institutions and 8000 Research Centers with their own independent web presence.


Ranking is built combining the following variables: Web presence, including general information, structure and organization, governance and transparency related documents, learning supporting items, technology transfer or community engagement among other webpages; Visibility, a virtual referendum about the global impact of such web contents; Openness, the commitment of the University to the open access initiatives through its institutional repository, portal of academic journals and availability of the full texts papers in the personal pages of their authors and Excellence, the number of highly cited papers (top 10% most cited) in 21 disciplines by is faculty members.

In the current edition the top ranked universities are:

1.    Harvard University
2.    MIT
3.    Stanford University
4.    Cornell University
5.    University of Michigan
6.    University of California Berkeley
7=   Columbia University
8=   University of Washington
9.    University of Minnesota
10.  University of Pennsylvania

Countries with Universities in the Top Hundred

USA                    66
Canada                 7
UK                         4
Germany              3
China                    3
Japan                    2
Switzerland         2
Netherlands        1
Australia              1
Italy                      1
South Korea        1
Taiwan                 1
Belgium               1
Hong Kong          1
Brazil                    1
Austria                 1
Czech Republic    1
Singapore            1
Mexico                 1

The Top Ranked in Region are:

USA                            Harvard
Canada                       Toronto
Latin America            Sao Paulo
Caribbean                  University of the West Indies
Europe                        Oxford
Russia                         Lomonosov MSU
Africa                          University of Cape Town
Asia                            Seoul National University
China                          Peking
Japan                          Tokyo
South Asia                 IIT Bombay
Southeast Asia          National University of Singapore
Middle East               Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Arab World                King Saud University
Oceania                      Melbourne
BRICS                          Sao Paulo


Isidro F. Aguillo, HonDr.
The Cybermetrics Lab, IPP-CSIC
Grupo Scimago
Madrid. SPAIN

isidro.aguillo at csic.es
ORCID 0000-0001-8927-4873
ResearcherID: A-7280-2008
Scholar Citations SaCSbeoAAAAJ
Twitter @isidroaguillo
Rankings Web webometrics.info

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