The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-2013 powered by Thomson Reuters are the only global university performance tables to judge world class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.
- Arts & Humanities
- Clinical, Pre-Clinical & Health
- Engineering & Technology
- Life Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
The World Reputation Rankings measure an increasingly vital element in the social-network age, say Phil Baty
Reputation is subjective, messy and nebulous, but it matters deeply in today’s competitive global higher education sector.
Research has shown that a university’s reputation is the top priority (over location or even salary) for academics moving jobs, and it is the number one consideration for internationally mobile students, above tuition fees and course content.
It can also be key to attracting collaborative partnerships and funding from alumni, philanthropists and industry.
And although reputations once gained can often be stubbornly enduring, things can change quickly in an information-rich, multimedia and socially networked age. The stakes are high.
“The strength of a university’s brand both depends upon and feeds into the success of the institution itself,” writes David Copping, a senior associate at the London law firm Farrer & Co.
“If a university thrives, the value of its brand will increase, in turn creating a virtuous feedback loop as academics, students and funding are drawn in. But the reverse is also true: failures of compliance or strategy can tarnish and at worst destroy this key asset, trapping the institution in a downward spiral.”
Given the importance of what is at stake, the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings have quickly developed into a powerful and highly cited global benchmark of universities’ academic prestige – a trusted brand index. So it is essential that the research underpinning the rankings can bear the weight being placed on it.
This top 100 list is based on the world’s largest invitation-only survey of experienced, published academics, carried out by the polling company Ipsos MediaCT for our rankings data provider, Thomson Reuters.
Respondents are carefully selected to be statistically representative of their country and their specialist discipline, and are asked to name a small number of institutions based on their own expert, subject-specific experience and knowledge. So the list gives a representative and balanced view of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.
The 2013 rankings are based on a staggering 16,639 survey responses. In the three short rounds of the annual survey thus far, almost 50,000 responses have been gathered from more than 150 countries.
The reputation rankings are based on nothing more than subjective judgement, but it is the judgement of experts. It is thanks to their expertise and engagement with this important exercise that we can bring you this trusted picture of the most reputable universities in the world.
* Phil Baty is the Times Higher Education World University Rankings editor 2013
Top North American universities 2012-13
Rankings methodology: experts recognise these as the best
The excellent response to the third round of the annual Academic Reputation Survey gives an even more accurate picture of scholarly opinion.
The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings are created using the world’s largest invitation-only survey of academic opinion – a truly unique piece of research.
The Academic Reputation Survey, available in 10 languages, uses United Nations data to ensure that it is-properly distributed to reflect the demographics of world scholarship.
It is also evenly spread across academic disciplines.
Those invited to take part are statistically representative of both their country and their discipline.
The questionnaire, administered by polling company Ipsos MediaCT for THE’s rankings data supplier Thomson Reuters, targets only experienced, published scholars, who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines and at institutions with which they are familiar.
The 2013 rankings are based on a survey carried out in March and April 2012, which received 16,639 responses from 144 countries. When polled, the respondents on average had been working in the academy for 17 years.
With 13,388 answers to the first Academic Reputation Survey in 2010 and a further 17,554 in 2011, just under 48,000 detailed expert responses from more than 150 countries have now been collected in just three annual rounds.
There is a balanced spread of responses across disciplines. In 2013, the most (22.1 per cent) have come from the social sciences, followed by engineering and technology (21.3 per cent), physical sciences (18.0 per cent), clinical subjects (15.4 per cent) and the life sciences (12.7 per cent), with the arts and humanities polling the lowest (10.5 per cent).
The spread across the regions is also well balanced: 33 per cent of responses hail from North America, 17 per cent from Western Europe, 12 per cent from East Asia, 10 per cent from Oceania, 6 per cent from Eastern Europe, 5 per cent from South America and 5 per cent from the Middle East.
In the survey, scholars are -questioned at the level of their specific subject discipline. They are not asked to create a ranking or to list a large range of institutions, but to name no more than 15 of those they believe to be the best, based on their own experience.
To help elicit more meaningful responses, respondents are asked “action-based” questions, such as: “Which university would you send your most talented graduates to for the best postgraduate supervision?”
The survey data were used alongside 11 objective indicators to help create the 2012-13 World University Rankings, which were unveiled in October last year. The reputation data are published alone each year to create the World Reputation Rankings.
Calculating the scores
The reputation table ranks institutions according to an overall measure of their esteem that combines data on their reputation for research and for teaching.
The two scores are combined at a ratio of 2:1, giving more weight to research because feedback from our expert advisers suggests that there is greater confidence in respondents’ ability to make accurate judgements about research quality.
The scores are based on the number of times an institution is cited by respondents as being the best in their field. The number one institution, Harvard University, was selected most often. The scores for all other institutions in the table are expressed as a percentage of Harvard’s, set at 100. For example, the University of Oxford received 73 per cent of the number of nominations that Harvard received, giving it a score of 73 against Harvard’s 100. This scoring system, which is different from the one used in the World University Rankings, is intended to provide a clearer and more meaningful perspective on the reputation data in isolation.
The top 100 universities by reputation are listed, but Times Higher Education has agreed with data supplier Thomson Reuters to rank only the top 50 because the differentials between institutions after that point become very narrow. The institutions that make up the second half of the table are listed in groups of 10, in alphabetical order. Scores are given to one decimal place, but were calculated to greater precision.