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THE World University Rankings 2015-2016: Bigger than ever

The much-awaited release of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-2016 on 30 September 2015 has brought one of the last major contributions to the debate on the purpose of university rankings for this year. THE World University Rankings, one of the most referenced global university rankings, has grown this year to feature 800 universities from 70 countries, up from 400 listed institutions representing 41 countries in 2014. More than 1,100 universities from 88 countries were surveyed for this edition with the intention to provide a more complete picture of worldwide excellence in research and teaching. The new league table therefore includes universities from Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana and others for the first time in the history of the ranking. 
Although we bear in mind that the changes in methodology do not allow for a direct year-by-year comparison to evaluate the performance of universities, this edition brings interesting results. This year’s top ten features the usual suspects, with the California Institute of Technology coming out on top for the fifth consecutive year, followed by the University of Oxford and Stanford in second and third place respectively. The University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) round out the top five in the 4th and the 5th position, with each climbing one place compared to last year’s edition. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is once again the highest-ranked institution outside the US and the UK and has even made it to the top 10 for the first time this year, rising four places and scooping up number nine. 
This edition brought mixed results for Asia, as Singapore celebrates the rise of National Singapore University to the 26th position and Japan’s University of Tokyo slides from the 23rd to the 42nd, resulting in the two switching places as Asia’s top-ranked university. In Africa meanwhile the University of Cape Town in the 120th position continues to lead the way, while South America’s University of São Paulo appears in the 201-225 band as the highest-performing institution of the continent. 
Once again, universities in Europe claim the largest share of the league table with 345 institutions represented, followed by 174 universities from North America, 203 from Asia, 38 from Oceania, 27 from South America and 14 institutions from Africa.  THE World University Rankings 2015-2016 World University Rankings 2015-2016: results announced