The newest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was published yesterday by the The Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Also known as the Shanghai ranking, this is one of the most well known and widely used rankings in the world, having been compiled for nine consecutive years by now. The very success of the ranking could also be the reason why the page publishing the ranking was down most of the day yesterday, likely due to usage overload.
As expected, there are no huge differences at the top of the list in comparison to last year. The top ten consists of the usual suspects, with small fluctuations either way. Harvard is yet again on top, as it has been throughout all the years and leads with a clear margin. If anything, during the nine years this ranking has been compiled, the gap from first to tenth university has marginally widened – in 2003 the tenth place has a score of 59.1, and that has decreased to 56.4 by 2011. Overall, during the nine years the institutions in top 10 have remained almost the same, aside Yale that was on 8th place and dropped out of top ten after that. One of the institutions that appears to be improving throughout years is MIT; whereas in the case of others, there appears to be some stability over years, and some (e.g. Cambridge) seem to be moving back and forth somewhere in the top5. (Click on image to see the overview of top 10 institutions from 2003 to 2011).
The relative stability of the list is also marked by the fact that it is only ten new entries to top 500 and three new entries to top 100. However, the press release does highlight the progress made by universities from the Middle East, and also the increasing stats of Chinese universities that now have 35 universities in the top 500. (more…)