Thursday, June 17, 2010

Data details unveiled for THE world rankings

By Phil Baty

Phil Baty reports on Thomson Reuters' profiling process for revamped global survey of universities

The full range of data that will be used to create the Times Higher Education World University Rankings was revealed this week.

Thomson Reuters, the leading research data specialist, is supplying and analysing all the data for the 2010 world rankings and beyond.

The company this week released details of the data it is collecting under its Global Institutional Profiles Project, which will be used to create detailed profiles of higher education institutions and to build the annual THE tables.

The world rankings will be based on three key sets of data: the results of a worldwide academic reputation survey; research citations data already held in Thomson Reuters' extensive databases; and more general factual data to be provided by the universities themselves.

Thomson Reuters outlined details of the third data set this week. Institutions will be asked to provide information, for the given year, on:

- Number of academic staff, including the proportion who are of international origin

- Number of research-only staff

- Number of undergraduate students admitted, including the proportion of international students

- Number of bachelor's degrees awarded

- Number of doctoral students admitted, including the proportion funded by competitive research scholarships

- Number of doctorates awarded

- Total institutional income

- Research grant income from public sources and charities, and research contract income from industry and commerce.

Invitations to upload the data are being sent out to an initial group of about 600 institutions deemed to have the potential to make it into the THE world top 200, which will be published in the autumn.

This initial list of 600 - which will be expanded later in the year - was chosen largely on the basis of research strength in six broad subject areas (arts and humanities; clinical, pre-clinical and health; engineering and technology; life sciences; physical sciences; and social sciences), according to Thomson Reuters' citations data, and on the basis of the preliminary results of the reputation survey.

"In the second phase of the data-gathering stage, which will start later this year, we will include many more universities and regions," Thomson Reuters said.

Institutions will be able to upload the data to a dedicated, secure website. Thomson Reuters has produced a guidebook to ensure that consistent definitions are used so that data are properly comparable.

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