What do the rankings measure?

The various ranking lists use several indicators, which differ between the different lists, in order to determine a university's placement and points.

The international ranking lists for World Class Universities measure the achievements of universities through:

  • the number of prizes and specific achievements (for example, the Nobel Prize, Turing Awards and number of identified HiCi researchers with Thomson Reuters)
  • reputation measurements through surveys (which cater to university graduates and employers)
  • achievement measure (number of students per faculty, income per faculty) and shares (share of international students, share of international faculties and share of students on second cycle)
  • bibliometric indicators, primarly in three and five year time intervals occasionally in ten and eleven year intervals, which has either been retrieved from Web of Science (ARWU, CWTS and NTU (previously HEEACT)) or Scopus (THE and QS):
    • research impact
      • “raw” citations (which benefit research-intense universities with a large number of employed researchers and those with a specific specialism within medicine and natural science),
      • the average number of citations and field standardised citation rate (the most important indicator for quality)
    • research excellence
      • publications which are among the ten per cent most cited classified within the same subject area (Top ten per cent),
      • H index (a measure which measures the quality but where even the size of the university in terms of research has a large influence) and the number/share of highly cited publications, as well as
      • number/share of publications in High Impact Journals. Research production is normally measured through the number of publications and number of publications per teacher and researcher.
    • research production
      • number of publications
      • number of publications per teacher and researcher
      • share of publications in international collaboration
      • share of publications in collaboration with trade and industry

The rankings also use other statistics such as data on income, number of teachers, researchers, international teachers and researchers, students, international students and degrees. The supporting material is used to calculate average values which aim to measure production and efficiency.