Analysis and trends – 2013

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The position of Hungarian higher education institutions in international rankings, compared to their counterparts from the Central European region 

In ARWU 2011 ranking the University of Helsinki and the University of Vienna exceed all the others. The two Hungarian universities are in the middle section, Charles University (CZ) has a better position from the surrounding countries.

Looking at the partial scores we must note the importance of Nobel Prizes and Field Medas: among the best universities we can find almost entirely the ones scoring on the two indicators (Alumni and Award), but for scoring, only one prize or medal is enough for the university.

In Times Higher Education Ranking of 2010 only two of the universities in question can be found among the top list of 200: the University of Helsinki and the University of Vienna.

The sequence of QS 2011 is similar to that of ARWU, except that the Vienna University of Technology is in a much better position, and the Central-European University (Budapest) appears on the list, leaving other Hungarian universities behind. The regional vantage of Charles University is clear.

The reputation of a univesity plays an important role in the ranking method, especially regarding the academic reputation, but besides, the employer reputation has an effect, too. The level of internationlality and the student/staff ratio are also among the indicators. For the QS rankings publication data and research performance are less emphasized, which is a good explanation why the Vienna University of Technology reached a relatively high position – owed to other indicators – and why the University of Bucharest appears on the top list (because of its employer reputation).

The HEEACT 2010 ranking positions are relatively similar, but only one Hungarian university could remain on the top 500 list: the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest). The ranking based entirely on publication performance favors medical and natural sciences in its methodology, not taking into account the universities’ diversity in subject fields, and the differences in science metrics of the fields, which negatively discriminates universities with a varied profile.

The Leiden Ranking’s European top list shows Hungarian universities in a respectively good position. Among the universities of the region, Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest is superior, besides, the University of Debrecen, Semmelweis University (Budapest) and the University of Szeged are only competed by the Polish institutions. The rankings weighted by the size of the universities show a more balanced picture, but the differences of subject fields still cause some bias in favour of medicine and natural sciences.

Webometrics ranking is led by the University of Helsinki, followed by the Hungarian institutions – a little bit behind Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana – with the strongest online presence of Budapest University of Technology and Ecomonics amongst them. Besides, Eötvös Loránd University and University of Szeged can be found among the top 500 institutions. Webometrics ranking indicates solely the  universities’ presence ont he world wide web, nevertheless, the relative positions of the institutions are similar to those of other worldwide rankings.

 In SCIMAGO Institution Rankings 2011 the Charles University of Prague has a prominent position: the 132nd rank is an outstandting result, especially if we consider that the ranking is not exclusive for higher education institutions. Among the top 500 there are no Hungarian universities, most of them can be found between the 600th and 800th positions.

Looking at the indicators we may note the results of the subject field performance (NI) and the thematic diversity of the institution (Spe) which reflect more specfic information on the universities’ performance.

The MINES 2011 ranking shows the supremacy of the University of Trieste, besides this only the University of Helsinki could obtain a notable position. Among the top-managers of the most significant large companies the role of the Central-Eastern-European Region is negligible, only two Austrian university could reach the lower end of the top 500 list. The ranks are not independent from the economic situation, the system and the size of the country, it is not surprising that the Italian university of our subjects is outstanding if we consider that Italy is member of the G7.

In sum, we could see that the University of Helsinki and Austrian universities usually hold a higher position, while in some rankings Charles Universitiy also performes well. The Hungarian universities are situated in the middle section, similarly to the Polish ones. Our direct neighbours are left behind, the Romanian, Croatian Slovenian and Slovakian universities rarely appear on the top lists, and if so, their positions are low.