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Researcher Skills Toolkit

Metrics and institutions

Institutions typically measure the impact of their researchers’ publications when:

  • Benchmarking against other institutions
  • Identifying emerging research areas
  • Identifying the research strengths (and weaknesses) of disciplines and groups
  • Identifying key performance indicators to inform the strategic direction of the institution
  • Identifying potential high impact collaborators
  • Establishing internal funding allocations
  • Modelling outcomes for national assessment exercises, such as ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia)
  • Promoting the reputation of the institution for marketing purposes.

University ranking schemes

University ranking schemes include publication metrics as part of the methodology for calculating the research performance of institutions.

ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities

The Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is an annual ranking of international universities.

Universities are ranked using six indicators, relating to alumni, awards, publications, and citations. 60% of the ranking weights relate to institutions and citations across three of the six indicators:

  • HiCi - The number of Highly Cited Researchers selected by Clarivate Analytics. The Highly Cited Researchers list issued in November 2020 was used for the calculation of HiCi indicator in ARWU 2021. Only the primary affiliations of Highly Cited Researchers are considered. Weight = 20%
  • N&S - The number of papers published in Nature and Science for a specific time period. Weight = 20%
  • PUB - Total number of papers indexed in Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index in 2020. Only publications of 'Article' type are considered. Weight = 20%.

Publications and metrics are sourced from the Web of Science database.

QS World University Rankings

QS World University Rankings is an annual rankings list of over 1,000 international institutions.

QS ranks more than 1,000 institutions internally. Six indicators are used to calculate rankings:

  1. Academic reputation
  2. Employer reputation
  3. Faculty/student ratio
  4. Citations per Faculty
  5. International Faculty ratio
  6. International student ratio

20% of the score is based on citations metrics sourced from the Scopus database.

THE World University Rankings

THE World University Rankings are produced by Times Higher Education

THE uses 13 indicators in 5 areas:

  1. Teaching – reputation survey, academic staff-to-student ration, doctorates awarded, institutional income
  2. Research – reputation survey, research income, publications of staff
  3. Citations – field weighted citation impact
  4. International outlook – proportion of international students, proportion of international academic staff, international co-authorship
  5. Industry income – research income from industry and commerce

Citations are worth 30% of the overall score. Publication and international co-authorship details plus citation counts are sourced from the Scopus database.

The SciVal database provides a platform for further analysing Scopus data (the University of Newcastle has a subscription to SciVal).

Link to Understanding THE World University Rankings through SciVal – YouTube (1:16 minutes)

THE Impact Rankings

THE Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Publications for each of the 17 SDGs are identified over a five-year period.

Publications and metrics are sourced from the Scopus database.

CWTS Leiden Ranking

The CWTS Leiden Ranking provides indicators of publication output, collaboration, open access publishing, and gender diversity. Results are available in list, chart, or map view.

The data source for the rankings is a Leiden University curated dataset of records from the Web of Science database.

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