Stellenbosch makes world ranking of top universities a third time this year
Stellenbosch University (SU) has for the first time been included in Leiden University’s ranking of the top 500 research universities in the world.
In the Leiden Ranking 2011/2012 released on Friday (2 December 2011), SU occupies the second position (397th position overall) among South African universities. The University of Cape Town is in first position (281st position overall), the University of the Witwatersrand third (419th position overall) and the University of Pretoria fourth (479th position overall).
“It is an objective indicator of excellence in scientific research. The fact that Stellenbosch made it onto the list means that it is one of the big international role players,” said Prof Rob Tijssen of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University. This centre compiles the ranking annually.
The Leiden ranking measures the research output, research impact and research collaboration of universities using bibliometric indicators. Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database, which covers more than 12 000 journals, serves as source for this analysis.
The latest ranking covers the period 2005-2009. The number of scientific publications by SU researchers, the number of citations of SU research in other studies and the extent to which SU researchers collaborated with partners around the world were all considered in determining the University’s place in the ranking.
“The result shows that the University’s performance as research institution is world class. Nowadays, this is extremely important for unlocking research funding, and attracting leading researchers and motivated students,” Tijssen said.
Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, welcomed the news.
“SU is increasingly reaching its strategic goal to not only be successful and significant locally, but also internationally. We now count among the top universities in the world on three different measurement instruments,” he said.
Earlier this year, also for the first time, SU was included in two other international rankings as one of the top universities in the world: the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
In response to this, SU said that it was aware of the methodological weaknesses of some rankings, and this is why the University does not pursue rankings or attach undue value to them. “We appreciate, however, the international acknowledgement that is contained in these rankings. It acknowledges the academic and research excellence of our staff.”
In response to the latest news, Prof Botman said: “Compared to any point in its history, Stellenbosch is now in a different league. This is thanks to the people of this University who are working together as a team – in an integrated, focused and interdisciplinary way.”
He added: “Our plans to expand our expertise, increase student success, especially at postgraduate level, and to improve our diversity will carry us forward. As planned, the HOPE Project is delivering results to ensure that our research excellence is relevant to society.”
The HOPE Project (www.thehopeproject.co.za) is a university-wide initiative through which the institution uses its proven academic and research excellence to the benefit of society.
Prof Arnold van Zyl, Vice-Rector: Research at Stellenbosch University, expressed his appreciation towards the academic staff and those who support the research outputs at the University in such a professional manner.
“The Leiden Ranking is the most credible and scientific measurement of research output and therefore this recognition is without a doubt a feather in the cap of our researchers. The University’s ambition to be recognised as a research-driven institution has been fulfilled,” he said.
- Visit http://www.leidenranking.com for more information on the Leiden Ranking.
The website, http://www.leidenranking.com, is interactive, allowing users to change different variables, which changes the ranking each time. In the case of the four SA universities, the order (UCT, SU, Wits, UP) stays the same whatever the variables, although the number placement changes every time.
The numbers supplied in the story above(UCT 281th; SU 397th; Wits 419th; UP 479th) is the example used by CWTS, who did the ranking, when their representative was interviewed. It is based on the following variables:
Region: All regions
Country: All countries
Number of universities: All universities
Dimension of scientific performance: Impact
Rank universities based on: MNCS (Mean Normalised Citation Score)
Normalize for university size: (selected/ticked)
Assign collaborative publications fractionally to universities: (deselected/unticked)
Leave out non-English language publications: (deselected/unticked)