World university rankings scrutinised

The University of Ghana features prominently in the rankingsThe Times Higher Education (THE), the leading global source of information for higher education professionals, academics and students, has opened up its influential World University Rankings to independent audit by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

A statement issued by THE, said PwC has undertaken a rigorous investigation of THE’s methodological description, its data capture and handling process and its rankings calculations, making it the first global university rankings to be subjected to full, independent scrutiny of this nature.

Following a full reperformance of the entire 2016-17 World University Ranking calculations, to ensure that PwC’s ranking scores aligned with those of THE, Tomlinson confirmed the audit had been completed successfully, stating, “I’m delighted to report that there were no differences.”

The  World University Rankings 2016-17, to be published on September  21, 2016, used 13 separate performance indicators across the full range of a university’s core activities, and combined a huge number of data points from various sources.

This year’s rankings would be drawn from a database of over 150 separate data points on each of 1,313 of the world’s leading research universities, two annual THE Academic Reputation Surveys with a total of over 20,000 responses providing 250,000 items of data, and an analysis by bibliometric data partners, Elsevier of more than 56 million citations to 11.9 million research publications published over five years.

The statement quoted Sam Tomlinson, partner of PwC UK, as saying, the “Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2016-17 will list world class universities, and showcase their performance across research, teaching, international outlook and knowledge transfer. We recognise the profile and prestige associated with these rankings and it has been critical for us to be absolutely confident that we can sign off on the rankings being published.”

Trevor Barratt, Managing Director of Times Higher Education, for his part, explained that the university ranking, which is in its 13th annual edition, “is trusted the world over. Governments use them to help make policy decisions, university leaders use them to help set strategy, and of course they are widely trusted by students and their families, in their millions, to help them choose where to study.”

He said “following a major investment in our data team last year, and the decision to bring all of the core university rankings data collection and analysis in-house, we felt it was particularly important to subject our team and our processes to clear, independent audit, to ensure accountability to the many university customers of our data and analytical tools, and the many millions who come to our rankings website each year.”

The 2016-17 ranking would feature 980 universities from 79 countries, displaying a total of 5,880 data points.

In the 2015-2016 rankings, the University of Ghana clinched the number one position in West Africa and the seventh position in Africa, while the University of Cape Town retained its position as the top university in Africa.

By Times Reporter


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