The month of June yielded two global university rankings – the earlier than usual new edition of the QS World University Ranking and the 7th edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Ranking, the former based on six criteria (Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Faculty/Student Ratio, Citations per Faculty, International Faculty Ratio and International Student Ratio) and the latter on the opinion of select experts across the globe, this year counting 10 566 responses from 137 countries. Despite their different methodological basis, both rankings display an indubitable rise in Asia’s standing amidst the most represented Anglo-American ‘stars’ of the game. While the QS top-ten band stays the same, the THE top scoreboard shows slight changes as Columbia’s position drops to 12 from 9 in 2016, and Chicago take over the 9th position. Its last year’s 11th place is now claimed by the University of Tokyo, which is for years keeping its ‘next-to-the-best’ position. Australia is also displaying a steady rise in the QS table with 7 institutions in the top 100 this year. Latin American universities are slowly finding their way up the table, whereas Africa remains the least represented with 18 universities in total and the University of Cape Town the only institution among the top 200.
Overall, both US and UK institutions have faced a drop in positions, US seeing further drop this year to 42 in top 100 institutions. Quite a contrary picture for the universities in China, India and Russia
, whose positioning and representation are, year after year, gaining stronghold in both rankings. The upward trend for China and Russia has been accounted for by their national excellence initiatives
, which might soon apply to India, as its government seems to be preparing to follow suit up the excellence lane (see As the (re)positioning of US and UK universities in the THE ranking is scrutinised through the lens of Brexit and the Trump effect, some other European countries with a good standing, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, are also losing some its players, which may raise the question as to whether there is more to this ‘eastward’ trend than the obvious political transformations in the ‘West’ and how much work awaits European universities to maintain their so far evident prestige in the global playfield.