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

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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 university 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

University of Strasbourg

France

+133

Joseph Fourier University

France

+116

Wageningen University and Research Centre

Netherlands

+92

King Saud University

Saudi Arabia

+88

Sungkyunkwan University

Korea

+73

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

+66

Radboud University Nijmegen

Netherlands

+66

Korea University

Korea

+63

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong

+61

Cardiff University

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

Keio University

Private

Japan

-54

University of Dundee

Public

United Kingdom

-57

University of Cincinnati

Public

United States

-61

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Public

Sweden

-62

Dartmouth College

Private

United States

-62

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Private

United States

-90

Weizmann Institute of Science

Public

Israel

-93

University of California, San Francisco

Public

United States

-106

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Public

United States

-120

Karolinska Institutet

Private

Sweden

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

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