Australia found to be a leader in research output in 2014 National Taiwan University Rankings of Australian institutions


The National Taiwan University’s Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers (hereafter NTU Rankings), having first appeared less than 10 years ago, has maintained a consistent and transparent methodology almost since its inception. Its findings hinge on research impact, output, and transfer, all measured through the extent to which universities and their faculty publish their research findings.  This year NTU Rankings have found Australia to be one of the world leaders in research output, and cast the nation as actors in an ever-growing sphere of activity that centres on Oceania and East Asia.

The NTU Rankings’ methodology is comprised of three main performance indicators, which themselves are split into sub-categories. The first measurement of academic performance is Research Productivity, which is quantified by both the number of articles in the past 11 years and the number of articles in the last year, both allocated 10% of the data weighting. The second overall performance indicator is Research Impact, which takes the average citations in the last 10 years, 2 years, and then an annual average over the past 10 years, again allocating each 10% of the final sum. Finally, Research Excellence is measured by the H-Index, that is the individual impact of a scholar’s cited works (allocated 20%), the number of highly cited papers published in the last 10 years by the university, and finally the number of articles in the previous year to feature in ‘high-impact’ journals. Both the latter are given 15% of the total weighting.

The NTU Rankings top 10 Australian universities could not paint a more different picture than that of the Leiden Rankings, which conversely finds 9 Australian institutions in the top 250 but not a single one in the top 100. The NTU Rankings are somewhat more positive:

1 (35) University of Melbourne

2 (37) University of Sydney

3 (56) University of Queensland

4 (87) Monash University

5 (100) University of New South Wales

6 (148) University of Western Australia

7 (170) Australian National University

8 (221) University of Adelaide

9 (282) Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

10 (403) Macquarie University

This shows a total of 2 Australian universities in the top 50, 4 in the top 100, and 7 in the top 200 worldwide research centres. NTU Rankings’ findings are more closely akin to that of the American populist US News Rankings, which also found the same universities dominating the top 3, and at closely correlative positions. Yet the big surprise comes in the form of Australian National University’s performance, up 7 places from the 2013 table but pitted at least 100 places lower than their rankings in any of the big four university tables.  Another big surprise is the appearance of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Not a university itself, the institute is allied to the University of Melbourne and would no doubt have raised the stature of the university had its data been included in Melbourne’s tally. But overall, NTU Rankings have found Australian universities to be making an indelible mark on knowledge transfer and research excellence around the world.