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Academic Ranking of World Universities

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Academic Ranking of World Universities
CategoriesHigher education
PublisherShanghai Ranking Consultancy (2009–present)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (2003–2008)
Founded2003; 20 years ago (2003)
CountryPeople's Republic of China
LanguageEnglish and Chinese
Academic Ranking of World Universities
Simplified Chinese世界大学学术排名
Traditional Chinese世界大學學術排名
Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2003–2018, Top ten

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking, is one of the annual publications of world university rankings. The league table was originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003, making it the first global university ranking with multifarious indicators.[1][2]

Since 2009, ARWU has been published and copyrighted annually by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, an organization focusing on higher education that is not legally subordinated to any universities or government agencies.[3] In 2011, a board of international advisory consisting of scholars and policy researchers was established to provide suggestions.[4][5] The publication currently includes global league tables for institutions as a whole and for a selection of individual subjects, alongside independent regional Greater China Ranking and Macedonian HEIs Ranking.

ARWU is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed university rankings, alongside QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] It has received positive feedback for its objectivity and methodology,[10][11][12] but draws wide criticism as it fails to adjust for the size of the institution, and thus larger institutions tend to rank above smaller ones.[9][13][14]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Top 30 Best Universities in USA | US News University Rankings 2023
  • World's Top 100 Universities | Best Universities in the World | 2022
  • Top 10 Best Universities In The World 2022 | | QS Ranking 2022
  • Top 10 Best Universities In The World 2023 | | QS Ranking 2023
  • 2022 ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities ARWU TOP 10 Universities


Global rankings



ARWU methodology[15]
Criterion Indicator Code Weighting Source
Quality of education Alumni as Nobel laureates & Fields Medalists Alumni 10% Official websites of Nobel Laureates & Fields Medalists[Note 1]
Quality of faculty Staff as Nobel Laureates & Fields Medalists Award 20% Official websites of Nobel Laureates & Fields Medalists[Note 1]
Highly cited researchers in 21 broad subject categories HiCi 20% Thomson Reuters' survey of highly cited researchers[Note 1]
Research output Papers published in Nature and Science[* 1] N&S 20% Citation index
Papers indexed in Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Science Citation Index PUB 20%
Per capita performance Per capita academic performance of an institution PCP 10%
  1. ^ Not applicable to institutions specialized in humanities and social sciences whose N&S scores are relocated to other indicators.


EU Research Headlines reported the ARWU's work on 31 December 2003: "The universities were carefully evaluated using several indicators of research performance."[16] A survey on higher education published by The Economist in 2005 commented ARWU as "the most widely used annual ranking of the world's research universities."[17] In 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education called ARWU "the best-known and most influential global ranking of universities"[18] and Philip G. Altbach named ARWU's 'consistency, clarity of purpose, and transparency' as significant strengths.[19] University of Oxford Chancellor Chris Patten has said "the methodology looks fairly solid ... it looks like a pretty good stab at a fair comparison."[20] While ARWU has originated in China, the ranking have been praised for being unbiased towards Asian institutions, especially Chinese institutions.[21]


The ranking has been criticised for "relying too much on award factors" thus undermining the importance of quality of instruction and humanities.[9][22][23][24] A 2007 paper published in the journal Scientometrics found that the results from the Shanghai rankings could not be reproduced from raw data using the method described by Liu and Cheng.[25] A 2013 paper in the same journal finally showed how the Shanghai ranking results could be reproduced.[26] In a report from April 2009, J-C. Billaut, D. Bouyssou and Ph. Vincke analyse how the ARWU works, using their insights as specialists of Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). Their main conclusions are that the criteria used are not relevant; that the aggregation methodology has a number of major problems; and that insufficient attention has been paid to fundamental choices of criteria.[27]

The ARWU researchers themselves, N.C. Liu and Y. Cheng, think that the quality of universities cannot be precisely measured by mere numbers and any ranking must be controversial. They suggest that university and college rankings should be used with caution and their methodologies must be understood clearly before reporting or using the results. ARWU has been criticised by the European Commission as well as some EU member states for "favour[ing] Anglo-Saxon higher education institutions". For instance, ARWU is repeatedly criticised in France, where it triggers an annual controversy, focusing on its ill-adapted character to the French academic system[28][29] and the unreasonable weight given to research often performed decades ago.[30] It is also criticised in France for its use as a motivation for merging universities into larger ones.[31]

Indeed, a further criticism has been that the metrics used are not independent of university size, e.g. number of publications or award winners will mechanically add as universities are grouped, independently of research (or teaching) quality; thus a merger between two equally-ranked institutions will significantly increase the merged institutions' score and give it a higher ranking, without any change in quality.[14]


There are two categories in ARWU's disciplinary rankings: broad subject fields and specific subjects. The methodology is similar to that adopted in the overall table, including award factors, paper citation, and the number of highly cited scholars.[32]

  • Natural sciences
    • Atmospheric science
    • Chemistry
    • Earth sciences
    • Ecology
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Oceanography
    • Physics
  • Engineering
    • Aerospace engineering
    • Automation and control
    • Biomedical engineering
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical engineering
    • Civil engineering
    • Computer science and engineering
    • Electrical and electronic engineering
    • Energy science and Engineering
    • Environmental science and engineering
    • Food science and technology
    • Instruments science and technology
    • Marine/ocean engineering
    • Materials science and engineering
    • Mechanical engineering
    • Metallurgical engineering
    • Mining and mineral engineering
    • Nanoscience and nanotechnology
    • Remote sensing
    • Telecommunication engineering
    • Transportation science and technology
    • Water resources
  • Life sciences
    • Agricultural sciences
    • Biological sciences
    • Human biological sciences
    • Veterinary sciences
  • Medical sciences
    • Clinical medicine
    • Dentistry and oral sciences
    • Medical technology
    • Nursing
    • Pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences
    • Public health
  • Social sciences
    • Business administration
    • Communication
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Finance
    • Hospitality and tourism management
    • Law
    • Library and information science
    • Management
    • Political sciences
    • Psychology
    • Public administration
    • Sociology
    • Statistics

Regional rankings

Considering the development of specific areas, two independent regional league tables with different methodologies were launched – Ranking of Top Universities in Greater China and Best Chinese Universities Ranking.

Mainland China

Best Chinese Universities Ranking was first released in 2015.[33]

Greater China

Ranking of Top Universities in Greater China was first released in 2011.[34]


Methodology of Greater China Rankings[34][Note 2]
Criterion Indicator Weight
Education Percentage of graduate students 5%
Percentage of non-local students 5%
Ratio of academic staff to students 5%
Doctoral degrees awarded 10%
Alumni as Nobel Laureates & Fields Medalists 10%
Research Annual research income 5%
Nature & Science Papers 10%
SCIE & SSCI papers 10%
International patents 10%
Faculty Percentage of academic staff with a doctoral degree 5%
Staff as Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists 10%
Highly cited researchers 10%
Resources Annual budget 5%


  1. ^ a b c Official datum sources adopted by ARWU: Nobel Laureate Web, Fields Medalist Web, Thomson Reuters' survey of highly cited researchers & Thomson Reuters' Web of Science.
  2. ^ Order shown in accordance with the latest result.


  1. ^ Pavel, Adina-Petruta (2015). "Global university rankings – a comparative analysis". Procedia Economics and Finance. 26: 54–63. doi:10.1016/S2212-5671(15)00838-2.
  2. ^ "World university rankings: how much influence do they really have?". The Guardian. 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2015. The first international rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities or Shanghai Rankings
  3. ^ "About Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2014. Archived from the original on 28 February 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2014. Since 2009 the Academic Ranking of World Universities has been published and copyrighted by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.
  4. ^ "Shanghai rankings rattle European universities". ABS-CBN Interactive. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2015. France's higher education minister travelled to Jiaotong University's suburban campus last month to discuss the rankings, the Norwegian education minister came last year and the Danish minister is due to visit next month.; The idea for the rankings was born in 1998, when Beijing decreed China needed several world-leading universities.
  5. ^ "ARWU International Advisory Board". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2014. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  6. ^ Network, QS Asia News (2018-03-02). "The history and development of higher education ranking systems – QS WOWNEWS". QS WOWNEWS. Archived from the original on 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  7. ^ "About Academic Ranking of World Universities | About ARWU". Archived from the original on 2021-02-28. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  8. ^ Ariel Zirulnick (2010-09-16). "New world university ranking puts Harvard back on top". Christian Science Monitor. Those two, as well as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, produce the most influential international university rankings out there
  9. ^ a b c Indira Samarasekera & Carl Amrhein. "Top schools don't always get top marks". The Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. There are currently three major international rankings that receive widespread commentary: The Academic World Ranking of Universities, the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education Rankings.
  10. ^ a b Philip G. Altbach (11 November 2010). "The State of the Rankings". Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015. The major international rankings have appeared in recent months — the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the QS World University Rankings, and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE).
  11. ^ a b "Strength and weakness of varsity rankings". NST Online. 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  12. ^ a b Marszal, Andrew (2012-10-04). "University rankings: which world university rankings should we trust?". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  13. ^ ""Shanghai Academic Ranking: a French Controversy" by Marc Goetzmann, for La Jeune Politique". 29 August 2013. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  14. ^ a b Bahram Bekhradnia (15 December 2016). "International university rankings: For good or ill?" (PDF). Higher Education Policy Institute. p. 16. Retrieved 10 June 2017. ARWU presents a further data issue. Whereas in the case of the other rankings the results are adjusted to take account of the size of institutions, hardly any such adjustment is made by ARWU. So there is a distortion in favour of large institutions. If two institutions were to merge, the very fact of merger would mean that the merged institution would do nearly twice as well as either of the individual institutions prior to merger, although nothing else had changed.
  15. ^ "ARWU – Methodology". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2014. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Chinese study ranks world's top 500 universities". European Research Headlines. 2003. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  17. ^ "A world of opportunity". The Economics. 8 September 2005. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2015. It is no accident that the most widely used annual ranking of the world's research universities, the Shanghai index, is produced by a Chinese university.
  18. ^ "International Group Announces Audit of University Rankings". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2015. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which produces the best-known and most influential global ranking of universities...
  19. ^ Philip G. Altbach (11 September 2010). "The State of the Rankings". INSIDE HIGHER ED. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015. Nonetheless, AWRU's consistency, clarity of purpose, and transparency are significant advantages.
  20. ^ Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses. United Nations Educational. 2013. p. 26. ISBN 9789230011567. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  21. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2013 released". Times Higher Education (THE). 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  22. ^ Marszal, Andrew (2015). "University rankings: which world university rankings should we trust?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 January 2015. It is a remarkably stable list, relying on long-term factors such as the number of Nobel Prize-winners a university has produced, and number of articles published in Nature and Science journals. But with this narrow focus comes drawbacks. China's priority was for its universities to 'catch up' on hard scientific research. So if you're looking for raw research power, it's the list for you. If you're a humanities student, or more interested in teaching quality? Not so much.
  23. ^ J. Scott Armstrong and Tad Sperry (1994). "Business School Prestige: Research versus Teaching" (PDF). Energy & Environment. 18 (2): 13–43. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-20.
  24. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  25. ^ Răzvan V. Florian (17 June 2007). "Irreproducibility of the results of the Shanghai academic ranking of world universities". Scientometrics. 72 (1): 25–32. doi:10.1007/s11192-007-1712-1. S2CID 8239194.
  26. ^ Domingo Docampo (1 July 2012). "Reproducibility of the results of the Shanghai academic ranking of world universities". Scientometrics. 94 (2): 567–587. doi:10.1007/s11192-012-0801-y. S2CID 938534.
  27. ^ Jean-Charles Billaut, Denis Bouyssou & Philippe Vincke (2 November 2010). "Should you believe in the Shanghai ranking?". Scientometrics. CCSD. 84 (1): 237. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s11192-009-0115-x. S2CID 875330. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  28. ^ ""Shanghai Academic Ranking: a French Controversy" by Marc Goetzmann, for La Jeune Politique". 29 August 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  29. ^ Spongenberg, Helena (5 June 2014). "EUobserver / EU to test new university ranking in 2010". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  30. ^ Dagorn, Gary (16 August 2016). "Universités : pourquoi le classement de Shanghaï n'est pas un exercice sérieux". Le (in French). Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  31. ^ Gérand, Christelle (September 2016). "Aix-Marseille, laboratoire de la fusion des universités" (in French). Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  32. ^ "Global Rankings of Academic Subjects 2020". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2020. Archived from the original on 12 November 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  33. ^ "2022 中国最好大学排名 (Best Chinese Universities Rankings)". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 2022-04-19.
  34. ^ a b "Greater China Ranking – Methodology". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2014. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 September 2023, at 19:53
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