Last year, the RUG went from 90th place to 100th. This year, the university dropped to 113th place. This further decline is probably due to a change in the way the rankings are calculated. Last year, QS decided to count the number of citations for each faculty, rather than for universities as a whole.
Furthermore, QS bases half of the score on the universities’ international reputation. ‘But the group of peers tasked with judging the reputation is really poorly defined’, the RUG complained in a press release. The number of citations for each employee also plays a role. But according to the university, that method ‘lacks transparency and is faulty’.
‘They give artificial weight to five different scientific fields, regardless of actual productivity’, according to the press release. The statement goes on to say that QS has no data about the actual number of employees for each discipline. ’That makes the end result, which is also ‘standardised’ for each country, extremely unreliable.’
Losing a top 100 spot can have negative consequences in attracting international students, who tend to consult the rankings when choosing a university.
But the RUG is not the only Dutch university to drop out of the top 100. Leiden went from number 95 to 102, and Utrecht dropped from 94 to 104. Rotterdam lost its top 100 spot last year and fell even further, from 126 to 155. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) has the highest score of any Dutch university, moving from 55th place to 57th.
Together with the Shanghai ranking and the Times Higher Education ranking (THE), the QS ranking is considered one of the best in the world. In August, it was announced that the RUG’s position rose in the Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) once again, reaching 72nd place. In the Times Higher Education ranking, the RUG comes in at 74.
International rankings have universities in a stranglehold, despite being completely pointless. Read the article here: ‘Ranking the rankings‘.