We Vote for US News Global Rankings vs Times Higher Ed World Rankings

The annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings have had the strongest presence in the ranking “world” since 2004, but here’s one vote for the U.S. News Best Global Universities rankings being better even though they have been around only two years. Both are useful because they measure the prestige and research impact of hundreds of universities around the world at a time when there is much more international cooperation–and competition–among institutions.

It is rare for us to applaud the U.S. News rankings because there are many serious issues with the annual “Best Colleges” publication. It over-emphasizes the financial resources of colleges and their selectivity, to the detriment of most public universities.

But when it comes to world rankings, U.S. News drops the focus on financial metrics in favor of academic reputation and research metrics, including the use of regional reputation surveys that help to offset the eurocentric bias of the Times Higher Ed rankings.

For example, the Times Higher Ed rankings list 42 European universities among the top 100 in the world, while U.S. News lists 31. The main reason is probably that the Times rankings do include financial metrics and do not factor in the additional regional reputation data.

Below is a table showing the U.S. public universities ranked among the top 100 in the world by U.S. News alongside the rankings of the same universities by Times Higher Ed. An additional column shows the average ranking of each school when both ranking systems are used. The average ranking of leading U.S. public universities by U.S. News is 44 out of 100; the average Times Higher Ed ranking of the same schools is 82.

 US News GlobalTimes Higher EdAverage
UC Berkeley3138
UCLA81612
Washington113221.5
Michigan172119
UC San Diego193929
UC Santa Barbara243931.5
Wisconsin265038
North Carolina276345
Minnesota296547
UT Austin304638
Ohio St349062
UC Davis394441.5
Maryland4111779
Illinois433639.5
Colorado4612786.5
Pitt477963
UC Santa Cruz4814496
Florida5312086.5
Penn State577566
Rutgers6012391.5
UC Irvine6110683.5
Georgia Tech644152.5
Arizona67163115
Purdue7211392
Michigan St829992.5
Texas A&M88193140.5
Virginia94147120.5

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