Ranking and mapping – U-Multirank coming up

umultirankHave you heard about U-Multirank? It is a project to develop a multidimensional ranking tool where users can decide what indicator they want to rank the institutions by.

This means that no composite scores will be presented which would allow to create one single ranking of top 10 or top 100 of the best institutions. The main idea is that one can compare institutions with similar profiles to each other rather than create a single list, with the argument being that a single composite score does not sufficiently  take into account the various profiles of institutions.

The launch of U-Multirank has been anticipated for some time now, and while the official date is still not announced yet, it has been announced that U-Multirank will be available mid-May in 2014. The launch will be marked with a press conference in Brussels with the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth introducing the instrument and the researchers of the team providing their insights about the project – we will keep you posted about the development!

umap-exampleU-Multirank draws also on an accompanying project – the U-Map project, where the instrument has been available since August last year. U-Map has been in development since 2004 and is now fully functional. It is a mapping tool for higher education institutions in Europe and beyond (Listen also to our earlier Hedda podcast about U-Map where we talked to Franz Keiser and Elisabeth Epping). 

So, while we wait for U-Multirank, the U-Map site can be a place to spend some time at. At the moment, there are around 330 institutions in the list that can be viewed and compared with U-Map, providing little “flower” visualisations of the instiutional profiles of the institutions, and an opportunity to select a number of institutions and compare them with each other (on the top/right is a  comparison of two large Nordic institutions).

Sure, while one can always question the choice of indicators and whether they adequately measure the complexity of higher education institutions and their profiles (and whether everything  can be quantified and measured to start with), it is actually a rather fun tool to play around with, not least because it technically functions really well. While it should not be taken as a comprehensive representation of everything that higher education institutions are, it does point towards some interesting comparisons. One thing is for sure – there really cannot be too much information.

What do you think about the U-Multirank initiative?