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Leading institutions in the new Shanghai ranking

To nobody’s surprise, US universities come out on top of the recent academic ranking of world universities of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley are the leading three institutions. Eight out of the top ten, and 88 out of the top 200 universities are in the US.

With 23 institutions, the UK comes out second among the first 200, with Cambridge and Oxford in the top ten (ranks 4 and 10). Germany is in third place, with 14 among the first 200, although the highest-ranked German institution – Munich University - is only ranked 53rd. Of the smaller European countries, the Netherlands (nine in top 200) does especially well, on the par with much larger France, and so does Switzerland (six out of 200). With 80 institutions among the first-ranked 200, Europe scores well overall, but the distribution is quite unbalanced between countries. There are only six universities from Southern Europe (in Italy and Spain) in the top 200, and only one from the new EU member states and other Eastern European countries.

Universities and Asia and Oceania are surprisingly few, with Japan in the lead, followed by Australia (with nine and seven respectively of the top 200). Only two Chinese institutions (inclusive of Taiwan) and none from India figure in the 200 best-ranked. Latin America is once again disappointing, with four in the top 200. No African university is on the list of 200.

The ranking was published for the fifth time in 2007. For the first time, it contains detailed rankings for five broad subject groups. The academic ranking of world universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the most widely reported and quoted exercises of its kind, together with that of the Times Higher Education Supplement. It is heavily geared to research performance, which has earned it some criticism.