An overview of how some of the major lists work
The ARWU Ranking, often known as the Shanghai Ranking, ranks institutions whose alumni or staff have achieved certain distinctions related to research excellence. These include institutions that have Nobel Prize winners, Fields Medal winners, highly cited researchers, articles published in Nature or Science, or a considerable number of articles indexed by the Science Citation Index- Expanded (SCIE) or the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI).
It evaluates establishments according to six performance parameters.
- Alumni (worth 10% of the overall mark). This measure is based on the number of Nobel Prize and Fields Medal winners among an institution’s graduates, with higher weight given to more recent winners.
- Rewards (20%). This measure takes into account the number of employees who have received Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics, as well as Fields Medals in Mathematics, with more recent winners receiving more weight.
- Highly cited researchers (20%). This metric is based on the number of employees selected as Highly Cited Researchers by Clarivate Analytics.
- Articles published in Nature and Science (20%). This metric uses a four-year period and the number of publications published in Science and Nature journals. This category does not apply to institutions that focus on the social sciences and humanities.
- Indexed documents (20%). This is based on the number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and the Social Science Citation Index during the previous calendar year.
- Performance per capita (10%). The weighted scores of the above five indicators divided by the number of full-time equivalent academic staff.
How Arab Universities Rank in Rankings
the QS Ranking of Universities in the Arab Region is one of five independent regional rankings produced by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, in addition to its World University Rankings. Its 2022 report featured more than 180 universities.
The most represented countries are Saudi Arabia and Egypt with 31 ranked universities each. They are followed by Iraq (22), Jordan (20), the United Arab Emirates (15) and Lebanon (12).
King Abdulaziz University (KAU) led the list with an overall score of 100. The rest of the top 10 institutions were as follows:
- Qatar University
- King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
- American University of Beirut
- United Arab Emirates University
- King Saud University
- Sultan Qaboos University
- American University of Sharjah
- Khalifa University of Science and Technology
- the university of jordan
Limits and alternatives
Rankings aren’t the only tool students should consider when deciding where to enroll. But they can be useful when students are choosing between two or more universities, or sorting out which programs are considered the best in their field or most valued by employers.
Nevertheless, students should keep in mind that rankings have limitations, including intentional and accidental biases. These issues, along with concerns about the over-reliance of some governments and policy-making bodies on rankings as indicators of quality or performance, have prompted some higher education groups to consider alternative strategies for comparing institutions.
One approach that has attracted attention is known as comparative analysis. Benchmarking allows institutions to measure their performance against the best, average, or worst performing institutions in their class.
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An example of a benchmarking system is the Draft University Governance Screening Card, which brings together more than 100 universities from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This effort, co-sponsored by the World Bank and the Center for Mediterranean Integration, aims to improve institutional governance and accountability by implementing evidence-based and inclusive capacity building measures.
Participating institutions can compare their ratings with their peers on governance, quality and management issues. To improve their performance, many of them have developed specific action plans and accompanying capacity building strategies.