Excellence defined

The real difficulty facing those who seek to rank universities worldwide is not how to define them, but where to find the data that will enable reliable comparisons. Different national systems collect the data that matter to them and in the form that suits their purpose.

QS World University rankings were conceived to present a multi faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. The research yields results on 600 universities and the rankings are compiled based on six distinct indicators. The main rankings table evaluates six key aspects of university activity using the most recent data available at the time of initial publication peer review: citations per faculty (research quality) student faculty ratio (teaching quality), recruiting review (graduate employability) numbers of international faculty and international students (international outlook).

Understanding the ranking indicators:

Academic Peer review

The academic per review is the centerpiece of the QS World University Rankings and is based on an online survey distributed to academics world wide. The criterion has been allotted a weighted average of 40 per cent. Results are compiled based on three years’ worth of response totaling over 13,000 in 2010. Respondents are not permitted to submit their own institution or to respond more than once (their latest response is counted). Weightings are applied both geographically and by discipline to ensure as fair a representative spread as possible.

Employer Review

The employer review indicator is based on a global online survey this time distributed to employers. Results are again based on three years worth of latest response data totaling over 5,000 in 2010. Geographical weightings are applied to ensure fair representatives from key regions of the world. It has been given weight age of 10 per cent.

Faculty / Student ratio

Faculty / student ratio is used in many ranking systems and evaluations in the world and while it may not be a perfect measure of teaching quality, it is the most globally available and accessible measure of commitment to teaching and has 20 percent weight age in these rankings.

Citations per faculty

Citations are a widely used, conventional measure of research strength. A citation is a reference to one academic publication in the text of another. The more citations a publication receives the better it is perceived to be, the more highly cited papers a university publishes the stronger it can be considered to be. As a measure this is somewhat geared towards scientific and technical subjects which is why it carries just 20 per cent of the weight. The source used in this evaluation is Scopus, the world’s largest abstract and citation database of research literature. The latest five complete years of data are used. The total citation count is factored against the number of faculty in order to take into account the size of the institution.

International factors

In today’s increasingly globalized world, the most successful universities have to attract the world’s best students and faculty. Simple evaluations of the proportion of international students and international faculty serve as indicators of an institution’s international attractiveness.

These indicators are then combined using standard statistical methods to yield the overall scores that are seen in the results tables. This gain has the weighted average of 10 per cent.

QS Classifications

QS has introduced a system which categories each university on 12 different measures based on whether the university is a specialized institutions is a general university or /and has a medical school. It number of students and finally the research productivity of the university.

Arts and humanities focused universities produce fewer research papers than science focused ones. In this way sub-rankings can be drawn by classification. QS also publishes sub-ranking by the five broad subject categories defined earlier life sciences, natural sciences, IT and engineering the social sciences and the arts an humanities .

QS has been working to ensure that students make an in formed choice and for this they are constantly year on year working to provide the scholars with right information to ease their process of choosing the right university.