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Altbach, P. G., & Salmi, J. (Eds.). The road to academic excellence: The making of world-class research universities. The World Bank, Washington DC, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8213-8805-1. Pages: 400.
Philip G. Altbach and Jamil Salmi are already well-known observers of, and commentators on, the ‘world-class’ phenomenon in higher education. Their latest publication on this theme raises the intriguing question of how to build a world-class research university from scratch. In doing so, they extend the analysis originally presented by Salmi in 2009 in The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities, introducing several case studies and synthesising lessons learned. Representatives of 11 universities in 9 different countries try to provide insight into the central issue under discussion by sharing their experiences in building successful flagship research universities under difficult circumstances and in different contexts. This valuable collection of insights into the process of building research universities will be essential reading for policy makers and tertiary education leaders considering reforms and innovations to improve their country's position in the global scene.The World Bank