Improvements for the University of Basel in international Rankings
In the "QS World University Ranking" published worldwide today (September 11), the University of Basel has improved 30 positions over its 2011 ranking and lies worldwide in position 121. In addition, in the well-known "Shanghai ranking", the University of Basel improves four positions and is placed worldwide as number 85, placing it well within the top 100 universities.
In the 2012 "QS World University Rankings" the University of Basel has seen a significant improvement and is placed in position 121. This gratifying result arises from an excellent assessment of the Life Science research, as well as excellent assessment of the Staff-Student ratio and an outstanding record of internationalisation both in the student body and the academic staff. The University of Basel is ranked 30 places higher than in the comparable exercise in 2011. One should note that the annual variations in the assessment are mainly founded in the method of the ranking.
The high-class comparison published by Quacarelli Symonds (QS) since 2010 is based to a large extent (50%) on subjective appraisal by academic professional colleagues (Peers) and on input from potential employers. Quantitative achievement indicators only contribute to about half of the criteria taken into account in preparing the ranking. Among those are scientific publications and their reception (citations) in the scientific community which weights 20%. Further quantitative measures are the Student to Faculty ratio (20%) as well as the number of international Faculty members and students (10%).
In contrast, the results published as the "Academic Ranking of World Universities" (ARWU) since 2003 by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University exhibit a remarkable stability. From the first, the University of Basel has appeared in the first 100 Universities worldwide in this "Shanghai ranking“. In the ranking list for 2012, the University of Basel appears at position place 85, an improvement of four ranks.
The data for the ranking are collected and analysed using the same methods and limit themselves to quantifiable indicators, thus permitting comparisons between years. Among other criteria are the total number of the scientific publications, the number of contributions in the leading scientific journals "Nature" and "Science" as well as the number of highly cited researchers. Also important are the number of the Nobel prizes and Fields Medals (the highest honouring in the area of mathematics) awarded to former or current members of the University. These criteria favour, primarily, universities with a strength in the Natural Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine. According to the Shanghai Ranking, the University of Basel has maintained a place in the top 50 universities worldwide in the Life Sciences and Medicine.
Nevertheless, in international comparisons one must be aware that ranking lists deliver only a limited comparison on the basis of the methods and criteria which are adopted and which do not necessarily do justice to all universities. We welcome, therefore, the efforts of Shanghai as well as the European Union to develop additional broader tools for the comparison of Universities on the basis of their various profiles and portfolios reflecting all aspects of their activities.