A THE World Ranking 2019 – the regional performance of some „East”-European universities

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In this article 23 universities will be examined, from which 7 are Hungarian and the other 16 have similar profiles to the Hungarian ones. According to the indicator scores, most of the examined institution in the region kept their position: 15 altogether, 6 of them are Hungarian.

In the recent THE World University Rankings 2019 there were more than 1000 institutes ranked using the same methodology as in the previous years. Indicator covers the following areas:

  • learning environment (30%)
  • research (30%)
  • citation (30%)
  • international outlook (7,5%)
  • industry income (2,5%).

 

Rank 2019 Name Overall Teaching Research Citations Industry Income International Outlook Overall difference 2019-2018
401–500 Graz University of Technology 37.1–41.6 30.4 17.3 57.3 70.8 77.3 1.4325
401–500 Charles University in Prague 37.1–41.6 31.6 24.8 55.9 34.4 57.4 1.6925
401–500 Semmelweis University (H) 37.1–41.6 24.2 12 66.4 36 77.9 2.33
601–800 Eötvös Loránd University (H) 26.0–33.4 19.9 18.3 44.5 35.5 52.9 2.56
601–800 Palacký University Olomouc 26.0–33.4 18.9 11.8 42.5 34.8 57.1 -0.745
601–800 Jagiellonian University 26.0–33.4 22.3 15.4 50.7 34.8 35.5 4.1025
601–800 University of Ljubljana 26.0–33.4 23.2 17.4 40.1 38.1 40.2 1.12
601–800 University of Pécs (H) 26.0–33.4 18.8 16.7 37.6 39 55.3 1.09
601–800 University of Szeged (H) 26.0–33.4 19.8 11.1 41.2 37.3 52.5 2.18
801–1000 Budapest University of Technology and Economics (H) 19.0–25.9 15.1 14.2 26.5 43.9 34 -0.82
801–1000 University of Debrecen (H) 19.0–25.9 19.1 8.4 24.5 41.7 51.6 0.84
801–1000 University of Zagreb 19.0–25.9 17.5 12.7 23 37 29.6 0.2075
801–1000 University of Bucharest 19.0–25.9 12.8 25.1 16.1 34 40.3 2.425
1001+

(801-100 in 2018)

Corvinus University of Budapest (H) 9.8–18.9 15.5 11.2 20.3 34.2 42.8 0.77
1001+ Sofia University 9.8–18.9 18.4 9.5 12.6 35.2 42.1 1.2625

These institutions have similar rankings to the Hungarian ones, typically between the category 401-500 to 1000+. Looking at the overall scores[1], which can be calculated by using the indicator scores and the fitting weights, we can make a comparison between the 7 Hungarian and the other 9 foreign institutions in the region. It is also visible how strong one institution’s position is in the particular ranking category.

Looking at Semmelweis University’s score, it can be seen that the overall score of the university increased (+2.33). Though it was only enough to keep its position (401-500), due to increased interval limits for each ranking category. In the same category, Graz University of Technology (39.1) and Charles University in Prague (38.8) overtook Semmelweis (37.5) in overall scores. The interval for this category were between 37.1–41.6, which means that Semmelweis was close to the lower limit.

Hungarian ELTE was the second best scored university (29.7) in 601-800 category, overtaken only by Jagiellonian University (30.1), followed by Ljubljana and Palacky. The last two institutes from the analysed ones are Pécs (27.1) and Szeged (26.5), standing close to the lower limit of the interval (26.0).

In category 801-1000 the best university from the 16 is Debrecen (20.5), followed right by BME (20.4) and University of Bucharest (20.1). The interval limits for this category is 19.0–25.9 this year, meaning that these universities are in the lower quarter of this category, according to their overall scores. In the last category (1000+) Corvinus (18.2) and Sofia (16.2) University joined, standing close to the upper limit of the interval, which was 18.9. Corvinus University was ranked in the category 801-1000 last year, but a slow increase in their overall score (+0.77)  was not enough to keep their position.

 

In conclusion we can say that increasing one’s performance will not obviously lead to higher ranking position, due to increasing number of universities taken part in ranking (in 2016 800 institution was ranked, while in Ranking 2019 this number was 1250) and competitors’ more significant improvement. As an example, in 2017 the lower limit for ranking category 601-800 was 18.6, while in 2019 this score was only enough to be ranked in category 1001+.

 

Two Austrian university finished with better ranking positions this year, after three years of decline, getting greater overall scores. University of Vienna was now ranked as 143., which is close to their former position in 2016 (142). Vienna University of Technology also returned to their 2016’s position at the place 251-300.

University Country 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
University of Vienna Austria 142 161 165 143
Vienna University of Technology Austria 251-300 251-300 301-350 251-300

According to the indicator scores, University of Vienna had a significant improvement in Teaching (+10.7) and lower scores only appeared in one area, citations (-1.3). Overall the institute reached higher scores in Ranking 2019 (+2.9), comparing to 2018. Vienna University of Technology also increased its overall scores (+4.0), while slightly declined in two indicators (citations -0.5 and industry income -0.9).

2019 Institute Overall Teaching Research Citations Industry Income International Outlook
143 University of Vienna 57.6 (+2.9) 53.3 (+10.7) 47.6 (=) 64.7 (-1.3) 35.4 (+2.2) 94.4 (+1)
251–300 Vienna University of Technology 46.4–49.4 (+3) 40.2 (+3) 36.6 (+7.4) 52.7 (-0.5) 66.7 (-0.9) 82.9 (+1.8)

 

Some institutions of this region declined the previous years. University of Helsinki started at 76. in 2016, while in 2019 it was ranked at the 99. place. University of Trieste also lost their former position and landed at category 401-500 instead of 301-350 in 2016. Warsaw and Babes-Bolyai stood at 501-600 in 2016 while ranked in 601-800 (Warsaw) and 801-1000 (Babes-Bolyai) in 2019. Comenius University also stepped back one category, ranked in 801-1000.

University Country 2015-16 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-19
University of Helsinki Finland 76 91 90 99
University of Trieste Italy 301-350 351-400 351-400 401-500
University of Warsaw Poland 501-600 501-600 501-600 601-800
Babes-Bolyai University Romania 501-600 601-800 601-800 801-1000
Comenius University Slovakia 601-800 601-800 601-800 801-1000

 

Looking at the indicator scores it can be seen that the overall scores shifted minimally between 2018 and 2019. This strengthen the supposition that stagnation in scores will reach to relapse in ranking position. A conspicuous change among the indicator scores is the decline in international outlook at Babes-Bolyai University, as well as the decrease of every indicators at University of Helsinki.

University Teaching Research Citations Industry Income International Outlook Overall
University of Helsinki -0.5 -1 -0.6 -1.9 -1.1 -0.76
University of Trieste 0 -2.3 3.7 -3.6 -2.9 0.1125
University of Warsaw 0.2 -1.6 2.4 -1.8 -0.3 0.2325
Babeş-Bolyai University 5.2 -2.3 -2.8 -2.2 -14.1 -1.0825
Comenius University in Bratislava 0.7 -0.2 2.5 -4.6 -0.5 0.7475

THE World Ranking 2019 highlights that a small increase comparing to one university’s former performance will not necessarily lead to higher ranks, but can be enough to strengthen one’s position. On the other hand, slipping backwards in the ranking does not imply weaker performance, rather stagnation.

[1]  Computing overall scores is based on factual data, but the exact calculation used by THE is not published, therefore it can only be examined how one university’s overall scores and indicator scores changed from one year to the other without knowing how the factual data had changed.

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