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U-Multirank: About U-Multirank

About U-Multirank

U-Multirank is the world’s largest multidimensional, user-driven ranking, for comparing universities from all around the globe based on what matters most to you.

What institutions are included in U-Multirank?  

U-Multirank currently includes nearly 1,500 universities from 99 countries around the world. Around 56%  of  these  institutions  are from  Europe,  19%  from  North  America,  20%  from  Asia  and  5%  from Oceania, Latin America and Africa.  

While traditional global rankings focus mainly on 400-500 of the world’s research universities  (only about  2-3%  of  the  world’s  higher education  institutions),  U-Multirank  covers  a  far  broader  range including  small  specialised colleges, art and music academies,  technical universities,  agricultural universities, universities of applied sciences as well as comprehensive research universities and others.  

How many universities and faculties are included in the 2016 ranking?  

The current total number of higher education institutions is 1,497 (1,302 in 2016). This covers more than  3,280  faculties  and  more  than 10,500  study  programmes in  the  subject  areas  of  psychology, medicine, biology, chemistry, mathematics, history, sociology and social work/welfare and – new for 2017 – economics, chemical, civil and industrial engineering. Additionally, electrical and mechanical engineering, business studies, and computer science have been updated. This year 99 countries are featured.  

For  all  1,497  universities, U-Multirank  includes  bibliometric  and  patent  data  from  publicly  available databases.  Some  of  these datasets are  also  used  by  other  global  university  rankings.  These performance measures (indicators) that use bibliometric data are based on a count of the scientific publications produced by the academic staff of a university and the number of times these are cited in other publications.

In addition to the publicly available sources, a large proportion of U-Multirank’s data cannot be found anywhere else.  

What are bibliometric indicators?  

Bibliometric indicators seek to measure the quantity and impact of scientific publications. They are based on a count of the scientific publications produced by the academic staff of a university and the number of times these are cited in other publications. The bibliometric analyses in U-Multirank are based  on  the  Thomson  Reuters  database,  an  extensive  verified  database  of  academic  publications.  

U-Multirank  partner  CWTS  (Centre  for  Science  and  Technology  Studies)  at  Leiden  University  is responsible for generating the bibliometric data.  

How does U-Multirank measure performance?  

U-Multirank  covers  five  ‘dimensions’  of  performance:  teaching  and  learning,  research,  knowledge transfer,  international  orientation and regional  engagement.  No  one  dimension  is  more  or  less important than any other. Each is relevant in different contexts and to different users. Often the user will want to define their own mixture of performance indicators across dimensions. This is at the heart of what makes U-Multirank a ‘multi-dimensional’ ranking and a unique comparison tool.  

Performance in each dimension is assessed through a number of indicators, with universities ranked separately  on  each  individual indicator.  On  each  indicator,  institutions  are  ranked  into  five  groups ranging from ‘A’ (very good) to ‘E’ (weak).  

Universities  are  measured  for  performance  at  an  institutional  level,  but  for  many  indicators  – particularly those in teaching and learning – it would be misleading to measure them at anything other than the faculty level, ie. categorised by subject area (or disciplinary field).    

How does U-Multirank showcase the performance of institutions?  

Users can create their own personalised university ranking listing institutions that match their selection criteria according to the performance measures that they consider important to them. Depending on their choices, different universities will perform better than others. This is calculated according to the performance scores in each of the indicators they have selected.  

The  performance  scores  range  from  ‘A’  (very  good)  to  ‘E’  (weak),  based  on  an  assessment  of  all universities. The more ‘A’s an institution gets in the indicators that matter to the user, the higher it be on the user’s ranking when they sort them that way. Alternatively, they can choose to display the list alphabetically, or even sort by an individual indicator.  

This method allows users to see both the comparative strengths and weaknesses of any university.  

Who is U-Multirank for?  

U-Multirank is for students – whether looking for a place to study or to move elsewhere around the world – for their parents, teachers and advisers. It is for researchers in higher education institutions, for  decision-makers  in  institutions  (presidents,  vice-chancellors,  rectors, deans  of  institutions),  for employers and businesses. It is also for governments, ministries and policy-maker and for the media.  

Every aspect of U-Multirank was designed in close consultation with stakeholders representing these groups to ensure that it meets the diverse information needs of them all.  

The unique web tool was designed to provide a user-friendly and interactive interface that can be used flexibly  by all  these  diverse  groups. The  new  mobile  version  of  the web tool  is  aimed  principally  at student users, but remains supportive of the wide range of different information needs.  

Why is U-Multirank important?  

Prospective  students,  parents,  universities  and  governments  all  around  the  world  need  higher education institutions that do well in different areas, to meet the needs of different students and to meet  different  labour  market  and  research  needs.  Diversity  is  a key strength  of  the  global  higher education sector and we need mechanisms to protect that diversity while still measuring the different ways of performing well.  

Traditionally, the available information on the performance of higher education institutions focused mainly  on  research-intensive universities, and so covered  only  a  very  small  proportion  of  higher education institutions. Universities that wanted to be recognised internationally for their performance needed to conform to a narrow idea of quality.  

When  it  was  launched  in  2014,  U-Multirank  changed  the  landscape.  It  draws  on  a  wider  range  of analysis and information, covering far more diverse aspects of performance, to help students make informed study choices, to enable institutions to identify and develop their strengths, and to support policy-makers in their strategic choices on the reform of higher education systems.  

A  multi-dimensional  ranking  and  information  tool  is  the  fair  way  to  compare  universities  globally, measure  differences  in  performance while  reflecting  contexts  and  protecting  diversity.  U-Multirank has proved that this principled, transparent and authentic approach is not only feasible, but also widely supported by education stakeholders.  

Who is leading U-Multirank?  

On  the  initiative  of  the  European  Commission,  U-Multirank  is  developed  and  implemented  by  an independent consortium led by the Centre for Higher Education (CHE, in Germany, the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS, at the University of Twente  and  the  Centre  for  Science  and  Technology  Studies  (CWTS,  from Leiden University in The Netherlands.  

The consortium is headed by Professor Dr. Frans van Vught of CHEPS and Professor Dr. Frank Ziegele of  the  CHE.  Other  partner organisations  include  the  International  Centre  for  Research  on Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation Management (INCENTIM) from KU Leuven, Elsevier, the Bertelsmann Foundation, student advice organisation Push and software firm Folge 3. The consortium also works closely with a range of national partners and stakeholder organisations. A full list of partners is provided on the U-Multirank website.