• MENA top 30 snapshot released as THE MENA Universities Summit launches

    Institutions from 11 countries feature in a top 30 that previews what a new ranking of universities in the Middle East and North Africa could look like

    A third of the universities in the table, which was drawn up by Times Higher Education and measures research impact, are based in Egypt. However, the country has only one institution in the top 10: Beni-Suef University, which was ninth. 

    Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have three institutions in the top 30, which was released as THE holds its inaugural MENA Universities Summit in Qatar.

    The event includes a consultation on proposals for a full THE ranking for the region, building on the flagship World University Rankings. This would combine the citation scores from Elsevier’s Scopus database, used for this snapshot, with a wider range of performance metrics.

    The top five had been released last month, putting Texas A&M University at Qatar in first place ahead of the Lebanese American University. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University was third, ahead of Qatar University and the American University of Beirut.

    The rest of the top 10 includes two Saudi institutions: King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, and King Saud University, in seventh and eighth respectively.

    Morocco’s Cadi Ayyad University was sixth, while Jordan’s Hashemite University was 10th.

    Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said the top 30 gave us “fascinating insight into the research strengths of the MENA region” but was “just a snapshot to stimulate wider discussions about the most appropriate metrics for ranking the region’s universities”.

    “The THE World University Rankings use 13 separate performance indicators to judge institutions across the full range of activities – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – and we would like to extend this tried and trusted formula to the MENA region,” he said.

    “The question we are discussing here at the summit in Qatar is what is the appropriate range and balance of metrics to suit the specific missions of MENA institutions, and whether we can develop new indicators specifically for the region.”

    The top 30 snapshot was calculated using the ratio of the citations received by an institution’s publication output between 2009 and 2013 and the total citations that would be expected based on the average of the subject field.

    Qatar, Lebanon and Morocco each had two universities in the top 30, as did Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia.

    MENA top 30 snapshot

    1 Texas A&M University at Qatar QAT 519.87 91.91
    2 Lebanese American University LEB 332.63 85.45
    3 King Abdulaziz University SAU 3673.46 83.72
    4 Qatar University QAT 772.69 76.00
    5 American University of Beirut LEB 2319.69 75.14
    6 Cadi Ayyad University MAR 901.78 74.71
    7 King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals SAU 2869.33 71.57
    8 King Saud University SAU 7141.93 71.30
    9 Beni-Suef University EGY 492.04 70.75
    10 Hashemite University JOR 690.48 70.18
    11 United Arab Emirates University UAE 1762.86 69.68
    12 Djillali Liabes University ALG 492.31 69.49
    13 Mohammed V University at Agdal MAR 1472.52 66.13
    14 Suez Canal University EGY 987.26 65.50
    15 American University in Cairo EGY 676.43 63.14
    16 Sultan Qaboos University OMA 1591.16 61.57
    17 American University of Sharjah UAE 842.01 61.53
    18 University of Tunis TUN 1050.99 60.93
    19 Minia University EGY 720.32 60.70
    20 Petroleum Institute Abu Dhabi UAE 602.59 60.44
    21 Sohag University EGY 442.54 60.16
    22 Kuwait University KUW 2098.09 59.84
    23 Assiut University EGY 1577.02 59.72
    24 Yarmouk University JOR 494.15 59.24
    25 South Valley University EGY 633.56 59.09
    26 Alexandria University EGY 2539.79 58.97
    27 University of Bejaia ALG 311.26 58.45
    28 National Engineering School of Sfax TUN 799.60 57.99
    29 Mansoura University EGY 2779.96 57.09
    30 University of Tanta EGY 1257.54 56.52

    Source: Times Higher Education

  • France plans elite top-10 mega-university

    President Hollande at a Paris science centre: The French government wants to compete with Silicon ValleyBy Sean Coughlan -BBC News education correspondent

    Imagine the chagrin of French universities whenever international rankings are published.

    The top places are invariably filled with the US and UK academic powerhouses. And then coming up fast are the ambitious Asian universities.

    But what about the French, with their centuries of scholarship and ancient institutions? There was a university in Paris before Oxford or Cambridge.

    French universities are conspicuous by their absence. In the most recent QS World University Rankings there were none in the top 20 and only two in the top 100.

  • World University Ranking Methodologies Compared


    Written by Laura Bridgestock for TopUniversities

    There are multiple world university rankings available – with the best-known being the QS World University Rankings®, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) – and each one uses a different methodology. This can sometimes be confusing, as it’s not always easy to see why a university is ranked differently, or why the order within a country changes depending on which table you view.

    To clarify how these different outcomes are reached, below is an overview of the methodologies used for these three major world university rankings…

    QS World University Rankings®

    The QS World University Rankings assesses universities on six performance indicators, relating to research, teaching, employability and internationalization. To be eligible for inclusion, institutions must teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and conduct work in at least two of five broad faculty areas (arts and humanities; engineering and technology; social sciences and management; natural sciences; life sciences and medicine).

    1. Academic reputation (worth 40% of the overall score): Based on a global survey of academics, who are asked to identify the leading institutions in their field.
    2. Employer reputation (10%): Based on a global survey of graduate employers, who are asked to identify the institutions producing the best graduates in their sector.
    3. Student-to-faculty ratio (20%): An indication of commitment to high-quality teaching and support.
    4. Research citations per faculty member (20%): This is normalized by subject area, and reflects the impact of an institution’s research.
    5. Proportion of international faculty (5%): A measure of an institution’s success in attracting faculty from overseas.
    6. Proportion of international students (5%): A measure of an institution’s success in attracting students from overseas.
    • The interactive results table can be filtered to show the scores for each of these six indicators, showing where each institution’s comparative strengths and weaknesses lie. You can find out more about the QS World University Rankings methodology here.

    Times Higher Education World University Rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings uses 13 performance indicators, grouped into five categories. Institutions are excluded if they do not teach at undergraduate level, or if their research output is below a certain threshold.

    1. Teaching (worth 30% of the overall score): Based on a reputation survey (15%), staff-to-student ratio (4.5%), doctorate-to-bachelor’s ratio (2.25%), doctorates-awarded-to-academic-staff ratio (6%) and institutional income (2.25%).
    2. Research (30%): Based on a reputation survey (18%), research income (6%) and research papers published per faculty member (6%).
    3. Research citations (30%): Based on the number of citations a university’s research obtains, normalized by subject area.
    4. International outlook (7.5%): Based on international-to-domestic-student ratio (2.5%), international-to-domestic-staff ratio (2.5%) and international research collaborations (2.5%).
    5. Industry income (2.5%): Based on income earned from industry, relative to the number of academic staff employed, and adjusted for PPP.

    The published results can be sorted to show universities’ scores for each of the five categories, but not for the individual indicators within each category.

    Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

    Also widely known as the Shanghai Ranking, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) assesses six performance indicators, all relating to research excellence. The ranking considers all institutions with Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature or Science, or a significant number of papers indexed by the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) or Social Science Citation Index (SSCI).

    1. Alumni (worth 10% of the overall score): Based on the number of alumni of an institution who have won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, with greater weight given to more recent recipients.
    2. Awards (20%): Based on the number of staff affiliated with an institution who have won Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine and economics, and Fields Medals in mathematics, with greater weight given to more recent recipients.
    3. Highly cited researchers (20%): Based on an institution’s number of highly cited researchers, according to the latest list published by Thomson Reuters.
    4. Papers in Nature and Science (20%): Based on the number of papers published in these two influential journals, drawing on a four-year period. For institutions specialized in social sciences and humanities, this category does not apply.
    5. Papers indexed (20%): Based on the number of papers indexed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index in the preceding calendar year, with a double weighting for papers indexed in the Social Science Citation Index.
    6. Per capita performance (10%): The weighted scores of the other indicators, divided by the number of full-time equivalent academic staff.

    The published ARWU results can be sorted to show performance in each of these six indicators.

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