10 July 2013 | Report

Global University Rankings and Their Impact - Report II

Andrejs Rauhvargers

The first EUA report on “Global university rankings and their impact” was published in June 2011. Its purpose was to inform universities about the methodologies and potential impact of the most popular international or global rankings already in existence. This second report was initially planned as a short update of the first report. However, as work began it became clear that the growing visibility of rankings, their increasing influence on higher education policies and public opinion about them as well as their growing number and diversification since the publication of the first report meant that further investigation and analysis was required.


Hence this second report sets out various new developments since 2011 that we believe will be important for European universities. This includes information on methodological changes in more established rankings, on new rankings that have emerged, and on a range of related services developed as well as an analysis of the impact of rankings on both public policies and universities.

The report is structured in two main parts: Part I provides an overview of the main trends and changes that have emerged over the last two years, including the emergence of new rankings and of additional services offered by the providers of existing rankings, such as tools for profiling, classification or benchmarking, a section on the first IREG audit and insights into how universities perceive rankings and use ranking data.

Part II analyses in greater detail changes in the methodologies of the rankings described in the 2011 Report, as well as providing information on some new rankings and previously existing rankings not addressed in the 2011 Report. Part II also provides information on the additional services that the ranking providers have developed in recent years and that are on offer to universities.

There are also two annexes that refer to EUMIDA variables and IREG audit methodology coverage of the Berlin Principles.

The following principles established for the 2011 Report also underpin this publication:

  • It examines the most popular global university rankings, as well as other international attempts to measure performance relevant for European universities.
  • It does not seek “to rank the rankings” but to provide universities with an analysis of the methodologies behind the rankings.
  • It uses only publicly available and freely accessible information on each ranking, rather than surveys or interviews with the ranking providers, in an attempt to demonstrate how transparent each ranking is from a user’s perspective.
  • It seeks to discover what is said to be measured, what is actually measured, how the scores for individual indicators and, where appropriate, the final scores are calculated, and what the results actually mean.
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