What makes a real international university ranking?

Around the world university rectors, presidents and managers are bracing themselves for the next wave of classifications called, rightly or wrongly, ‘rankings’. But before the new ranking wave rolls in, we should ask what makes a real international university ranking?

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The first international university ranking was produced by Asiaweek in 1999 and 2000, to be followed in 2003 by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The Webometrics Ranking and the Times Higher Education – Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings both started in 2004. Since then, international university rankings have proliferated.

The IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, whose mission is ‘to act as a repository of information about rankings and to keep track of the constantly evolving and diverse world of rankings’, commissioned the Perspektywy Education Foundation (Poland) to prepare a comprehensive IREG Inventory on International Rankings that would serve stakeholders such as students, faculty, administrators and policy-makers.

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