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Swedish universities slide in reputation ranking

2014-03-06

Yesterday, Times Higher Education released the results of the World Reputation Rankings 2014. This year Uppsala University and Lund University have ended up below the top 100 list, together with several other Nordic universities. The ranking has received a lot of attention in Swedish media.

For the fourth time, Times Higher Education (THE) presents a ranking based only on the reputations of different universities.

World Reputations Rankings is based on a different method than most other university rankings. It is not based on data about universities’ structures, performance or quality, but on a large number of selected individuals’ perception about different universities’ reputation and status. A total of 10,000 researchers in 130 countries have stated which universities they perceive as the world’s best in their own subject.

As usual, Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Berkeley and Stanford top the list. This year’s ranking only lists one Swedish university – Karolinska Institutet (KI) – placed in the 51–60 interval. KI is in fact the only Nordic university among the top 100 listed.

Last year, Uppsala University and Lund University were both placed in the 91–100 interval. But in this year’s ranking, Uppsala and Lund are not among the 100 that are perceived as the world’s best universities.

“Naturally we are not entirely happy about losing positions in a ranking from one year to another. This specific ranking is a bit different than most, since it is based on subjective assessments rather than factual indicators. This means we cannot know what lies behind any changes”, says Deputy Vice-Chancellor Anders Malmberg.

“It is also important to remember that the differences between universities placed between 50 and 100 are minute and that small changes in voting numbers can result in large jumps in placements.”

The US dominates the list with all of 45 universities among the top 100. The UK also has a strong hold with 10 universities among those 100. A pattern that emerges is that some of Asia’s leading universities now have been ranked higher.

“It is hardly surprising”, says Anders Malmberg. “Some Asian countries are making large investments in research and higher education. This contributes to widening the academic world and increasing the global mass of knowledge.”

Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014

Read about how Uppsala University places in other university rankings.