What contributes more to the ranking of higher education institutions? A comparison of three world university rankings


  • Ya-Wen Hou National Taichung University of Education
  • W. James Jacob University of Memphis


world university rankings, ranking indicators, indicator contribution, ranking of universities, university position


Recently, many universities have drawn attention to world university rankings, which reflect the international competition of universities and represent their relative statuses. This study does not radically contradict all types of global university rankings but calls for an examination of the effects of their indicators on the final ranking of universities. By using regression analysis, this study investigates the indicator contribution to the ranking of universities in world university ranking systems including the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Times Higher Education (THE), and QS World University Rankings. Results showed that in the ARWU system, three indicators regarding faculty members who won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals and papers published in Nature and Science and in the Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index journals predicted the ranking of universities. For the QS and THE systems, the more powerful contributors to the ranking of universities were expert-based reputation indicators.






General Refereed Papers