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, 85 (1), 295-299

Too Much Noise in the Times Higher Education Rankings

Too Much Noise in the Times Higher Education Rankings

Fred L Bookstein et al. Scientometrics.

Abstract

Several individual indicators from the Times Higher Education Survey (THES) data base-the overall score, the reported staff-to-student ratio, and the peer ratings-demonstrate unacceptably high fluctuation from year to year. The inappropriateness of the summary tabulations for assessing the majority of the "top 200" universities would be apparent purely for reason of this obvious statistical instability regardless of other grounds of criticism. There are far too many anomalies in the change scores of the various indices for them to be of use in the course of university management.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
THES overall scores, 2009 versus 2008. Each point is one university that ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide in both years. The diagonal is the line of no change in scores from year to year
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Correlation of staff/student ratio between the years 2008/2009, the years 2007/2008 and the years 2007/2009. The scores are those supplied by the universities themselves, converted to ranks
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Some year-on-year changes in the “peer rankings” of the five faculty subdivisions show unacceptable instability of variance from year to year

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References

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