RUG drops in THE ranking

The RUG has dropped three places in the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking. The university is now in 83rd place.
By Christien Boomsma / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

This makes the RUG the seventh Dutch university in the rankings. Amsterdam grabs the highest spot, ending in 59th place. As always, the British universities Oxford and Cambridge are in first place.

‘Groningen is fairly stable’, says RUG ranking expert Jules van Rooij. ‘The same goes for basically all Dutch universities. A few places up or down doesn’t really mean anything.’

The drop certainly isn’t because the RUG had performance issues; other universities simply did slightly better.

Asia on the rise

What is interesting, says Van Rooij, is that Asian universities appear to be on the rise. ‘They are really rising in the rankings. It looks like they’ve figured out how the game works. By changing what they can, they’re going up.’

So far, the RUG’s position in the THE shows no signs of the so-called ‘Feringa effect’. In the Shanghai (ARWU) rankings, the RUG recently rose to 59th place. This was partially thanks to the fact that having a Nobel Prize winner working at the university is worth a lot of points in this ranking.

THE does not take Nobel Prize winners into account. Reputation, however, is important. So Van Rooij hopes to see a noticeable effect next year. ‘The survey about the institutes’ reputation is a year old. Feringa’s reputation might mean more next year.’


Yet Van Rooij is critical of the rankings that ‘measure only what they want to measure’. ‘Quality can’t be measured in simple linear lists.’

The Board of Directors will shortly decide whether or not to participate in the new Moscow International University Ranking. This ranking is supposed to destroy the classic universities’ hegemony and put the Russian universities on the map.

‘It shows they just measure what they want to measure’, says Van Rooij. ‘Although they do have some good ideas. For instance, they’re considering taking the accessibility of education into account. How many students study for free? Taking that into account immediately eliminates Oxford and Cambridge.’



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