Well, unfortunately, I'm not part of the media who has obviously received advanced copies of the report, I'll have to wait patiently for the report to be published online next week to have a full view of the details. However, the rankings of Malaysian universities have been published today by various local print media. A summary of the Malaysian University Performance is as follows:
- 185 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (289)
- 192 Universiti Malaya (169)
- 277 Universiti Sains Malaysia (326)
- 292 Universiti Putra Malaysia (394)
Impressively, UKM climbed a massive 104 positions from 289th in the previous year and the bloggers here will definitely be interested in seeing the breakdown of the data which contributed to the commendable improvement.
Also interestingly, the new THES world rankings table appears to extend itself beyond just the 200 this year to include possibly another 100 universities, which accounted for Universiti Sains and Universiti Putra Malaysia being ranked at 277th and 292 respectively.
As argued previously in my review of the THES 2005 rankings table, specific positionings beyond possibly the top 100 universities are likely to fluctuate wildly due to the tiny points difference in the lower tier universities.
There's a gap of 70 points in "overall score" between no. 1 and no. 83, but only 9.2 points between no. 83 and no. 200. As an example, although Chulalongkorn University was ranked 48 places above Universiti Malaya, the difference in points was only 3.1...Therefore, I'm agreeable with the Shanghai JiaoTung University's version of the rankings table, where universities are placed in blocks of 50s or 100s beyond the Top 100 universities.
Hence, it is my personal belief that for the THES rankings table, the top 50 positions maybe fairly accurate, whilst those nearer the bottom may fluctuate wildly due to more subjective data. However, this is purely an exercise meant to provide the estimated position of a particular university to serve as a guide for prospective candidates. It is a useful guide, but at the same time, should not be taken as the biblical truth. :)
If I were the UKM vice-chancellor, I would not rejoice or read too much at the massive increase in position just yet, as marginal differences in the subjective data such as peer review and employability will result in significant changes in the rankings placement. Similarly, for universities placed beyond the Top 200, USM and UPM, I'll expect them to fluctuate wildly in their positions i.e., by at least 30 places up or down in future reviews, unless of course, they did indeed attract some top class faculty members to the universities.
See also the latest critique on the latest Top 200 rankings table by Richard Holmes here. In addition, you can get a complete list of the Top 200 universities without details at the QS TopGraduate website. QS is the appointed partner of THES to compile the university rankings.
Anybody with an advanced copy of the detailed 2006 Rankings Table, it'll be much appreciated if you could email it to me :).