Obviously, as per previous years' compilations, no Malaysian universities made it to the Top 500 list, despite obviously being considered. There has been enough said about it such that I do not think that I want to go into the reasons for it in this post. I've mentioned before that I believe the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) rankings overrates regional universities while the SJTU version overrates Western universities based on their respective methodologies. Hence, in my humble opinion, Universiti Malaya (UM), for example gets overrated in THES rankings (yes, even at 169th) while it's clearly underrated in the SJTU version - I'd like to think that UM should easily get into the Top 500 of the world. For a critique on Malaysia and SJTU rankings, feel free to have a read at Sdr Lim Kit Siang's post.
Anyway, back to the latest rankings table. The methodology employed by the researchers at SJTU dictates that the rankings of the relevant universities are unlikely to be changed by much from year to year. This is simply because the number of new publications as well as new winners of Nobel Prizes are simply miniscule compared to the historical quantities and winners, such that the impact is likely to be minimal to the rankings.
As a result, the only change in Top 20 universities of the world between 2005 and 2006 is Tokyo University and John Hopkins University swapping spots at 19th and 20th respectively.
The next change is actually at position 31st, where Duke University improved by one spot, swapping with Northwestern University.
Overall, the biggest improvement was recorded by Hebrew University Jerusalem, 18 spots to 60th and University Maryland (College Park), 10 spots to 37th. Three universities made it into the Top 100 for the first time - University Iowa (95), Nagoya University (98) and Arizona State University, Tempe (100), all previously ranked 101-150 in the prior year.
The biggest drops within the Top 100 were recorded by Indiana University (Bloomington) by 10 spots to 97th as well as Rochester and Rice University by 9 spots to 74th and 84th placing respectively. Two universities dropped out of the Top 100 rankings - University Vienna and Tufts University from 85th and 100th into the 102-150 bracket.
It is also interesting to note that there are some top universities, both reputable and ranked highly in the THES rankings which were placed out of the Top 100 as well such as Dartmouth, National University of Singapore as well as Sydney University placed within the 102-150 category. As mentioned in the presentation by the SJTU researchers, it was stated that universities established after 1911 had a distinct disadvantage in the rankings system employed.
All in all, not particularly exciting, unlike the THES version of the rankings which obviously stirred a fair bit more controversy for the right or wrong reasons.
Also of note, Newsweek decided to compose their own set of global top 100 universities based on the data and results compiled by both THES as well as SJTU. The SJTU results formed a 50% weightage while the THES version formed 40%. The balance of the 10% comprises of the volume of books in the university's library holdings. (Do we foresee Malaysian universities making a sudden splurge for books in their respective libraries? :-p).
The universities which made it to the Top 20 are:
1. Harvard UniversityAlso in this hybrid list, both Singapore's established universities made it to the top 100 - National University of Singapore at 36 and Nanyang Technological University at 71.
2. Stanford University
3. Yale University
4. California Institute of Technology
5. University of California at Berkeley
6. University of Cambridge
7. Massachusetts Institute Technology
8. Oxford University
9. University of California at San Francisco
10. Columbia University
11. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
12. University of California at Los Angeles
13. University of Pennsylvania
14. Duke University
15. Princeton Universitty
16. Tokyo University
17. Imperial College London
18. University of Toronto
19. Cornell University
20. University of Chicago
Needless to say, we do not expect any Malaysian universities in this list for the next 5 years or so. If however, we do appear in the Top 100 of any of the above lists (without non-bumiputeras being classified as foreigners) within the next 10 years, then I will actually be very happy indeed.
The new THES rankings table is expected to be released in approximately 2 months time, and we'll get to see if the local Malaysian universities fare any better. At the very least, we won't get the (former) vice-chancellor of our premier university asserting that we "improved" despite dropping 80 spots in rankings :-).