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Why do Universities Rankings have Such Different Lists?

Sónia Rolland Sobral
REMIT, Universidade Portucalense, Porto, Portugal

Abstract—University rankings feature lists of higher education institutions ranked by item and weight. As they are available in the internet, they can be consulted by anyone wishing to find the best universities: students who want to enter higher education, teachers and researchers looking for new positions and governments/investors who want to fund the best. The lists are easy to consult and available to everyone. There are different classifications which are published: some are global, some are subdivided by areas, and others are only for one country. The results are very different from each other because they follow different systems. Many of the rankings have a huge number of Asian (mainly Chinese) universities in top positions while others consist mostly of American universities. This article compares the lists of computer science universities that appear in the rankings and analyzes the criteria for creating each of these rankings. Our goal is to understand why there are so many differences and which rankings favor each type of investigation. There is a direct relationship between the massive presence of top Asian universities and the total dependence on WebOfScience publications. The same is not true when the data source is the Scopus database.   
Index Terms—University rankings, computer science, WebOfScience, Scopus.

Cite: Sónia Rolland Sobral, "Why do Universities Rankings have Such Different Lists?," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 266-271, December 2021. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.7.4.266-271

Copyright © 2021 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.