Wednesday, May 13, 2009


NUS is 10th in Asia varsity rankings

SINGAPORE, May 13 - A new ranking of Asian universities that has the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 10th place has raised eyebrows among academics here.

They are questioning how Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd (QS), the compilers of the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, gave NUS such a low ranking.

The university was placed fourth in Asia in a worldwide survey done last year - by the same company. It was listed as No. 30 globally in that ranking.

However, in"s latest ranking of varsities in Asia, schools in Hong Kong took three of the top four spots, ahead of the University of Tokyo (Todai), a perennial regional powerhouse.

The Nanyang Technological University was placed 14th - it finished 12th in Asia in the worldwide survey last year.

The Singapore Management University was unplaced. (There were no Malaysian universities in the top
20 with University Malaya placed 39, followed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in number 51 and Universiti Sains Malaysia in number 69).

QS head of research Ben Sowters said the reason NUS dropped down the charts is that new criteria reflecting Asian contexts were used to calculate the rankings.

For example, he said, many Asian university faculty members lose out on the citations per faculty criterion, which is used in the world university rankings.

This is because many write and publish research papers in their local language and are therefore not cited as often in international journals, which are mostly in English.

To reflect this, the new criteria of papers per faculty and citations per paper, which measure both productivity and quality, were introduced.

But NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said the university is still trying to understand how its 10th-placed ranking was derived.

"Clearly, survey methodologies will affect the rankings of individual universities, but for NUS, all other indicators show that we are indeed a leading global university centred in Asia," he said.

In total, nine categories were measured: Asian academic peer review, papers per faculty, citations per paper, student-faculty ratio, Asian employer review, international faculty, international students, inbound exchange students and outbound exchange students.

NUS received perfect scores in five categories: peer review, recruiter review, papers per faculty and international faculty and international students. However, it lost out in the faculty-to-student ratio.

Professor Simon Marginson, an authority on higher education at Melbourne University, also expressed surprise at the rankings.

He said: "This is great for Hong Kong, which does have an excellent university system, but even the strongest supporter of universities in the island would not claim this kind of primacy over Singapore and

He added: "NUS is respected throughout the higher education world. It is emerging as the most globally effective university in Asia and has very strong and improving performance on research, as well as an advanced model of teaching and internationalisation."

Prof Marginson said he did not consider QS"s methods for data collection "sound" - for example, academics are surveyed on their views of the universities - and therefore does not see it as an important ranking.

"Reputational surveys are notoriously poor research instruments. Studies show that most respondents usually know only their own university, and perhaps the one where they did their PhD," he said.

"I don"t think NUS has reason to think its performance has declined. Different rankings produce different results and some are more sound than others."

NTU, meanwhile, did well for most of the categories, but lost out in those for faculty-to-student ratio and citations per paper.

Reacting to its 14th placing, NTU president Su Guaning said the university is "pleased to be ranked among the top in Asia".

He added: "While the high rankings are cause to celebrate, we do not look at rankings as the only or the most important guide for developing the university.

"We shall continue to focus on enhancing the global education for our students and building our faculty and facilities befitting a top university." - The Straits Times Asian University Rankings 2009
Top 200 Universities
2009 rank School Name Country
1 University of HONG KONG Hong Kong
2 The CHINESE University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
3 University of TOKYO Japan
4 HONG KONG University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
5 KYOTO University Japan
6 OSAKA University Japan
7 KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology Korea, South
8 SEOUL National University Korea, South
9 TOKYO Institute of Technology Japan
10= National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore
10= PEKING University China
12 NAGOYA University Japan
13 TOHOKU University Japan
14 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore
15= KYUSHU University Japan
15= TSINGHUA University China
17 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) Korea, South
18 CITY University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
19 University of TSUKUBA Japan
20= HOKKAIDO University Japan
20= KEIO University Japan
22 National TAIWAN University Taiwan
23 KOBE University Japan
24 University of Science and Technology of China China
25 YONSEI University Korea, South
26 FUDAN University China
27 NANJING University China
28 HIROSHIMA University Japan
29 SHANGHAI JIAO TONG University China
30= Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) India
30= MAHIDOL University Thailand
32 ZHEJIANG University China
33 KOREA University Korea, South
34 Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) India
35 CHULALONGKORN University Thailand
36 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) India
37 WASEDA University Japan
38 The HONG KONG Polytechnic University Hong Kong
39 Universiti Malaya (UM) Malaysia
40 National TSING HUA University Taiwan
41 CHIBA University Japan
42 EWHA WOMANS University Korea, South
43 National CHENG KUNG University Taiwan
44 SUNGKYUNKWAN University Korea, South
45 NAGASAKI University Japan
46 HANYANG University Korea, South
47 National YANG MING University Taiwan
48 TOKYO Metropolitan University Japan
49 Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) India
50 University of INDONESIA Indonesia
51 Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Malaysia
52 SHOWA University Japan
53 KUMAMOTO University Japan
54 YOKOHAMA NATIONAL University Japan
55 YOKOHAMA CITY University Japan
56 OKAYAMA University Japan
57 KYUNG HEE University Korea, South
58 PUSAN National University Korea, South
59 GIFU University Japan
60 University of DELHI India
61 SOGANG University Korea, South
62 KANAZAWA University Japan
63= Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR) India
63= OSAKA CITY University Japan
63= Universitas GADJAH MADA Indonesia
63= University of the PHILIPPINES Philippines
67 TOKYO University of Science (TUS) Japan
68 GUNMA University Japan
69 Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Malaysia
70 TIANJIN University China
71 National SUN YAT-SEN University Taiwan
72 National TAIWAN University of Science and Technology Taiwan
73 Hong Kong BAPTIST University Hong Kong
74 National CHIAO TUNG University Taiwan
75 XI'AN JIAOTONG University China
76 DE LA SALLE University Philippines
77 National CENTRAL University Taiwan
78 NIIGATA University Japan
79 OCHANOMIZU University Japan
80 BANDUNG Institute of Technology (ITB) Indonesia
81 CHIANG MAI University Thailand
82= KYUNGPOOK National University Korea, South
82= Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Malaysia
84 Ateneo de MANILA University Philippines
85 THAMMASAT University Thailand
86 TOKAI University Japan
87 MIE University Japan
88 CHONNAM National University Korea, South
89 KAGOSHIMA University Japan
90 Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Malaysia
91 CHANG GUNG University Taiwan
92 INHA University Korea, South
93 TOKYO University of Agriculture and Technology Japan
94 TONGJI University China
95 SOUTHEAST University China
96 HITOTSUBASHI University Japan
97 CHONBUK National University Korea, South
98 AJOU University Korea, South
99 CHUNGNAM National University Korea, South
100 University of PUNE India
Source: QS Quacquarelli Symonds (
Copyright © 2004-2009 QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd



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