2014 NTU USA Rankings measure impact of university research on academic communities


With an innovative approach to measuring the impact of university research on the international academic community, the National Taiwan University’s Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers (hereafter NTU Rankings), also goes a long way in quantifying the scholarly prospects of incoming students and outgoing alumni. Founded only in 2007, the NTU Rankings have maintained a low profile amidst the annual grapple to both measure success and be measured. But with a consistent methodology unchanged since 2008, what NTU Rankings lack in visibility they more than make up for in reputation. Broadly correlative to the more prominent CWUR Leiden Rankings, the team behind the NTU Rankings displays an indefatigable talent for sidestepping the common performance indicators in favor of a thoroughly bibliometric approach.

The NTU Rankings’ top 10 US universities certainly cast the performance of American universities in a new light when compared to its fellow scientific and research citation table, the Leiden Ranking. The US league tables for 2014, with global ranking stated in brackets, are:

1 (1) Harvard University

2 (2) John Hopkins University

3 (3) Stanford University

4 (5) University of Washington Seattle

5 (6) University of California Los Angeles

6 (7) University of Michigan Ann Arbor

7 (8) University of California Berkeley

= (=) MIT

9 (11) University of Pennsylvania  

10 (13) Colombia University

This shows a total of 8 US universities in the top 10, 28 in the top 50, and 79 in the top 100 worldwide research centres. The top 5, both global and national, remains unchanged from 2013, with the only substantial change to the top 10 coming in the guise of Colombia University and the University of Pennsylvania edging up in the table. The surprisingly poor performance of MIT, which usually is found to dominate citation rankings like the Leiden report, is corrected when normalizing the table by number of faculty. This allows MIT to take 4th place and allows the University of California San Diego and San Francisco to move up into the top 10. This shift in the methodological reading sends Ann Arbor sliding down to 12th place in the national and 13th in the global rankings. A more in-depth analysis of the findings shows Harvard getting near perfect scores in seven out of the eight performance indicators, much as they did in the Leiden Rankings, falling short only on average citations. The University of California Santa Barbara fared much better in the Leiden Rankings, as did California Institute of Technology, which only achieved 25th place in the US compared to 6th place in the Leiden national table.

Although unlikely to register on the radar of the elite American institutions, the findings of NTU Rankings goes a long way to address the relative imbalance of the Leiden Rankings, which often places too much emphasis on subjective measurements of reputation, and occasionally offers bizarre ways of quantifying student experience and graduate employability. While the findings may not be much of a shock to most in the top 50, it’s outside of the prestigious few that the NTU Rankings offers the best insights.