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U-Multirank: top performance is a matter of excellence-areas

Newest findings of U-Multirank confirm that top performance of universities strongly correlates with respective areas of excellence – varying significantly across different subject areas and research. 

By conducting a comparison across U-Mulitrank’s ‘readymade rankings’, that seek to highlight excellence in diverse performance areas, conclusions could be drawn that high performance is a matter of the diverse and institution specific capabilities and competences. The results illustrate that universities placing top on one of the 13 ‘Teaching & Learning’ rankings, which are differentiated according to subject areas, seldom mirror this performance in other disciplinary areas.  Particularly in the dimension of research-performance, these new findings support the critical questioning of traditional league tables and their validity.

U-Multirank’s ‘Research & Research linkages’ ranking, that utilizes a wider range of indicators relating to impact and collaboration in research, highlights that American universities’ dominance in this field is rather confined to indicators looking at citation rates of publications. When solely considering the indicator of research citations, American universities excel and command 30 out of 50 ranking spots, comparing to only 17 European institutions. This momentum however, cannot be upheld when other  key measures are brought into play - such as regional engagement, that symbolize collaborations across institutions, co-publications and industrial partners with significant R&D capacities. When extending the lens beyond singular and rather linear indicators, the situation reverses – revealing that 17 out of 25 top performers are European universities in areas of excellence looking at key qualities of knowledge transfer/co-publications; 12 European and 11 Asian institutions outperforming their US counterparts in ‘interdisciplinary publications’; and 21 out of 25  top spots are held by European universities when measuring ‘regional joint publications’ (none by the US).

Beyond this, in student mobility business schools are unsurpassed and the best student staff ratios, critical to fostering strong students learning experiences and outcomes, are found across Europe as well as Brazil and Japan.

Conducting this comparative analysis, drawing on multiple and varying indicators of excellence, reveals that universities can exhibit high performance in very different ways. It highlights the importance to paint a diverse picture of the purpose and adjoining qualities of the university, and facilitates decision making that matches the needs of increasingly global and multifaceted student and learning environments.