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    University rankings wield immense influence over Higher Ed and society at large – with positive and perverse effects.

University rankings wield immense influence over Higher Ed and society at large – with positive and perverse effects.

In a time of growing demand for and on higher education, university rankings have transformed university strategy. Ellen Hazelkorn finds their crude simplicity is what makes rankings so infectious. Yet, quality is a complex concept. Most of the indicators used are effectively measures of socio-economic advantage, and privilege the most resource-intensive institutions and-or countries. In response and reaction to the limited […]

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Basing university subject rankings on reputation metrics disadvantages departments outside global cities.

University ranking season is always filled with vibrant discussion on the opaque and subjective criteria used to establish the infamous league tables. Jonathan Albright focuses his analysis here on the QS World University Rankings by Subject. By removing the highly subjective score for employer reputation, the results change substantially, especially for universities outside global cities.  Each year, parents, prospective students, […]

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October 8th, 2013|Rankings|6 Comments|

Leading or following: Data and rankings must inform strategic decision making, not drive them

At yesterday’s Future of Impact conference, Cameron Neylon argued that universities must ask how their research is being re-used, and choose to become the most skilled in using available data to inform strategic decision making. It’s time to put down the Impact voodoo doll and stop using rankings blindly. “Impact” is a word that has gained great power in research policy […]

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December 5th, 2012|Impact, Rankings|3 Comments|

The demise of the Impact Factor: The strength of the relationship between citation rates and IF is down to levels last seen 40 years ago

Jobs, grants, prestige and career advancement are all partially based on an admittedly flawed concept: the journal Impact Factor. Impact factors have been becoming increasingly meaningless since 1991, writes George Lozano, who finds that the variance of papers’ citation rates around their journals’ IF has been rising steadily. Thomson Reuters assigns most journals a yearly Impact Factor (IF), which is […]

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Book Review: Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education

Higher education rankings do not necessarily reflect what users think they represent, discusses Ellen Hazelkorn in her recent book, reviewed by Andreea Moise.   Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education: The Battle for Excellence. Ellen Hazelkorn. Palgrave MacMillan. March 2011. What started as a small academic exercise in the US in the early 20th century has grown steadily to the scores […]

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November 26th, 2011|Book Reviews, Rankings|0 Comments|

Measuring thoughts and thinkers: why the ongoing conflict about measuring the value of science and humanities may be ultimately fruitless

Small competitions, such as the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme, preserve the essential features of larger assessments of research quality such as the REF, argues Jon Adams. But what does it mean to compare achievements in such disparate fields as history and physics? The BBC and AHRC recently ran a joint competition to locate ten ‘New Generation Thinkers’, a talent […]

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A beginner’s guide to the different types of impact: why the traditional ‘bean-counting’ approach is no longer useful in the digital era

Enhancing the capacity to understand academic influence can help all of us in the social sciences to become more effective as researchers. But how do we define one type of impact from another? Here we take a closer look at the differences between academic impact and external impact, a step away from the traditional passive approach to making impact and […]

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‘Payback’ approach has scope to continue evolving, concludes research impact workshop

In March, Brunel University’s Health Economics Research Group (HERG) hosted an international two-day workshop on ‘State of the Art in Assessing Research Impact’. The workshop built on HERG’s leadership in assessing research impact, especially the ‘Payback’ Framework pioneered by Professor Martin Buxton and Professor Stephen Hanney in the 1990s to assess the outcomes of healthcare research. This approach gauges […]

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‘Maximizing The Impacts Of Your Research: A Handbook For Social Scientists’ now available to download as a PDF

For the past year a team of academics based at the London School of Economics, the University of Leeds and Imperial College have been working on a ‘Research Impacts’ project aimed at developing precise methods for measuring and evaluating the impact of research in the public sphere. We believe the our data will be of interest to all UK […]

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Australia’s research strength lays in science, according to first national assesment

This week THE brings us the results of Australia’s first ever national research assessment, which found research in the sciences stronger than in the humanities and social sciences.

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ranked biotechnology, earth sciences, physical sciences, chemical sciences, and environmental sciences as the top 5 fields of disciplines; history was the only humanities or social […]

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February 15th, 2011|News, Rankings|1 Comment|
This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.