Tuesday, September 1, 2009

And the winner is…… National Taiwan University!

Overall ratinglist of the 2009 Lodewijk Meijer Institute Ranking of Universities in Developing Countries
In this blog entry we present the Lodewijk Meijer Institute 2009 ranking of top universities in Developing Countries. All 30 variables in our analysis were standardized so as to be able to add them up and directly compare them. So as to ensure that we would not be sensitive to individual outliers (quite a few variables showed a non-standard distribution of outcomes!), we capped the outcomes in such a way that scores above 3 and below -3 are not allowed. These values were capped at +3 and -3 respectively. The maximum possible score for the winner would therefore be +3, i.e. the maximum score on all variables.
After carefully analyzing the 30 variables described yesterday, the winner turned out to be National Taiwan University (NTU) with a great score of 2.343. We added a little 10 minute video in which we present this university to our LMG World TV website
Some of you might argue that one can hardly call Taiwan a developing nation anymore and this is of course true. NTU is by all means a top university in a country that is developing very well. NTU is a modern institution that has delivered one Noble Prize laureate and whose research institutes have made it into absolute world class in several areas, like for instance human genome research and information science. With respect to the latter: Taiwan’s reputation as one of the largest producers of semi-conductors in the world is well-known. But the school is top of the bill in robotics as well.
Although it is good to see that there are also growing numbers of foreign students who discovered the unique qualities of this school – with education thereby becoming an export product for NTU! – it is sad to notice that still way too often developing countries lose their brightest students to developed nations. This brain drain can only be stopped from within, by increasing the availability of top-level education in developing countries. The top-50 schools in our list are by all means good enough for anyone.
If we look further, we see that NTU’s success is not a coincidence: 4 other Taiwanese universities made it into our top-50. But this does not make Taiwan the strongest country in our 2009 ranking. Israel does also post 5 representatives, but where the Taiwanese ones are all ranked between place 26 and 50 (with the exception of NTU) we see the full Israeli quintet end up in the top-25. Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University were actually only marginally beaten by NTU! And Israel’s high-tech institute Technion made it also into the top-10. China is also gaining market share. In total, 14 Chinese universities made it into the top-50 and this is perfectly in line with long-term Chinese plans. In August 2008, Professor Nian Cai Liu of the Graduate School of Education of Shanghai Jia Tong University gave a presentation in which the ARWU ranking was explained. As you know, we have incorporated this ranking in our own framework. Page 4 of the powerpoint presentation makes it clear: the ARWU ranking is part of a plan: a plan in which the ultimate goal is to make China a leading nation in education. It even gave a time table for when this goal has to be achieved! Peking University and Tsinghua University are supposed to reach world class by 2016 and 2020 respectively.
And the Chinese are on their way, as the 14 top-50 representatives already indicate. All three of them, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University itself and Tsinghua University made it into the top-10. The top-10 was completed with one representative each from South Korea (Seoul National University), Brazil (University of Sao Paulo) and South Africa (University of Cape Town). Remarkable: Eastern Europe did not have a top-10 representative. The best school from this region was the famous Lomonosov Moscow State University (see picture below), with the Charles University of Prague (Czech Republic) a good regional second.
Our research enables us to analyze carefully how the educational situation in the various countries is. A lot can be learned, and we will of course share the results with you. Different countries and regions are in totally different circumstances. Obviously, money is always an issue. Countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Brazil, China, Russia and the Czech Republic belong to the richer developing countries. And some would even argue that South Korea and Taiwan hardly belong to this list anymore. But money is not the whole story and we will definitely show you that more can be said than that it is a money issue. Some countries seem to take the educational challenge quite seriously (see the Chinese for instance!) whereas others seem to basically believe that ‘students’ are a nuisance and that it is better not to make them ‘too smart’ so as to ensure a lame opposition. Economic and social research has however indicated that educational development is of the utmost importance to economic growth. In this blog we will therefore not just pay attention to the winners, but also to the losers. But before doing so we will first put the schools of excellence in the spotlight.
In our following blog entries we will analyze how and why results turned out to be what they were. To do so we will present top-20 lists for separate fields of research, namely:
·         Agriculture
·         Medical Science
·         Engineering & Computer Science
·         Life Sciences & Bio-Technology
·         Natural Sciences / Physics
·         Social Sciences
Obviously, we will then also introduce the respective winners in a bit more detail. Similar to what we did today with National Taiwan University. In our next entry we will start with the Agriculture ranking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 2009 Lodewijk Meijer Top-1000 of Universities in Developing Countries; Part1 Our Methodology

Education is essential for development, and development is important for good education. For many years education specialists and governments in developed nations have concentrated on primary and secondary education when providing aid and support to developing nations.

However, recently growing numbers of studies indicate that it might be more than worthwhile to pay more attention to educational support at the tertiary level as well.
We just finalized our calculations concerning the Top-1000 list with Universities from Developing Countries. A total of more than 1,100 universities from about 135 countries qualified.
We looked at 30 variables from various providers. Our basic philosophy was that all these providers had created indicators that contained value. However, all of them were either deriving a global or regional or country ranking and/or were focusing on just a specific field of research (there were for instance quite a few ratings available for Business Schools) and/or had a prime focus on developed nations. Our goal was to create general/overall and partial rankings for universities from developing countries in particular. We felt that the focus on 'global' and 'developed' has led to a situation in which a) the average level of the Developing Nations top schools was underestimated; and b) it was quite hard for potential students and other interested parties to get a good overview. We believe that our list provides a solution.
We incorporate analysis by the following providers:
  • The French rating list for Global Business Schools EDUNIVERSAL
    • Two variables with a combined weight of 6.25 percent
 The four different lists are equally weighted (each 2.5 percent), for a total of 10 percent. The combined 16.25 percent for these business school related lists might seem high, but it was clear that business education was further than that in other areas with respect to internationalization and comparison.
The other four providers that we incorporated generated broad and/or field-specific rating lists. We incorporate both details and broad rankings from these providers. They are:
  • Top Universities (TU) from the UK. Large advisor from the UK, with separate rankings for the top 20-40 schools per country overall and for separate fields of research, like Arts & Humanities, Life Sciences & Bio Medicine, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Technology (Engineering & Computer Science). We incorporate both the Broad Rating and the Field-related Ratings in our overall rating scheme. TU builds its rating using 6 different variables: 1) Academic Peer Review (40%); 2) Employer Review (10%); 3) Faculty-Student Ratio (20%); 4) Citations per Faculty (20%); 5) International Faculty (5%) and 6) International Students (5%). The TU-Broad Rating gets a 5% weight. The individual field ratings get a 2.5% weight, with the exception of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences who both get a 1.25% weight. We decided to give Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences half the weight of the other fields, because the other providers with field specific information (see below) decided either to combine these two fields or - in the case of Shanghai Jiao Tong - to refrain from incorporation of Arts & Humanities. The overall combined weight for provider TU is therefore 15%.

  • The so-called ARWU list, prepared by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (itself a school in our top-1000!). The ARWU list is one of the better known global rating lists of universities. It is an impressive piece of work, in which the Chinese rank schools according to 7 variables: 1) Noble Prize Awards or Fields Medals won by Alumni (10%); 2) The same, but by Current Staff (15%); 3) Citations per Faculty (25%); 4) Publications (25%); 5) Top Articles published in Journals that are considered top-quintile in their field (25%) and 6) Only for Engineering - Funding / Research Budget (25%). As you see the total weight adds up to 125% for Engineering. In that case the total is re-weighted to 100%. In our overall rating we incorporated the ARWU - Broad and ARWU - Field-Specific rankings. There are field-specific ratings for Natural Science/Physics, Engineering & IT, Life Sciences, Clinical Medicine and Social Sciences. They are all part of our overall rating system. The ARWU variables get a combined weight of 17.5%. The ARWU-Broad index gets a 5% weight, while the field-specific ARWU rankings are awarded with a 2.5% weight each.
  • Spanish provider Webometrics went a totally different way. The Spanish institution generated a rating that is totally automated. Using search engines like Google, Yahoo, Live Search and Exalead they extracted information about more than 10,000 universities all over the world. This rating was quite important for us in that it was probably the only one that did not really discriminate against universities from developing countries. The Webometrics rating does not provide a sub-categoriation in specific fields, but because it was the only one that was readily available for almost all schools in our sample we decided to incorporate both its overall scoring variable and the components of it. They are: 1) Size (weight 20%), which is defined by Webometrics as the number of pages online about the University (either directly written by itself or by others); 2) Visibility (50%), measured as the total number of unique external links received by the University's home page; 3) Rich files (15%): count of the number of online Powerpoint-, Word-, Adobe PDF- and Post-script (PS)-files in which a university was mentioned; and 4) Scholar (15%) which was used to derive the number of papers and citations per domain. When analyzing the Webometrics rating we found that the rating had a certain flaw in that it seemed to discriminate against specific languages. We decided not to remove the rating, but re-weighted the variables and adjusted the overall weight. We assigned an overall weight of 11.25% to the rating. The WEBO-OVERALL and WEBO-SCHOLAR ratings got a weight of 3.75% each. The WEBO-SIZE, WEBO-VISIBILITY and WEBO-RICH FORMAT variables got a weight of 1.25% each allocated to them.
  • Last but not least, we assigned a 40% weight in total to the rating developed by the Taiwanese accreditation commission. We felt that it was the rating with the most rigorous approach and a focus on both short-term developments and longer-term (last 12 years) trends. It rated the following variables: i) Research Productivity; ii) Research Impact; and iii) Research Excellence. Research productivity is analyzed by looking at the number of papers written during the last 12 and one year respectively. Both get a 10 percent weight. Research impact is measured by looking at the number of citations during the last 12 and one year respectively and the average number of citations per article written during the last 12 years. All three sub-variables get a 10 percent weight each. Last but not least, research excellence is measured by the value of the so-called H-Index over the last two years (20%); number of highly cited papers over the last 12 years (15%) and number of articles written in so-called high-impact journals in the current year (15%). The H-Index is calculated as follows: a school gets and H-Index equal to a value of h if at least h of its total of N written papers receive h citations in high-level, prestigious journals. It is clear that the Taiwanese rating ensures that top universities are really excellent research institutions by all means. We assign a weight of 10% to the broad Taiwanese index and 5% to each of its 6 field-specific indices.
Using the aforementioned weights, we derived the 2009 Lodewijk Meijer Institute rating list. During the coming weeks we will first present you the top of the overall rating list and then move on to the field-specific lists. After that we will analyze results on a country by country and regional basis. We will also present remarkable universities in separate articles.
Tomorrow in Part 2 of this series attention for the OVERALL RATING LIST

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Knowledge is Key in a Changing World

Too long western nations have persisted in Aid models that kept many developing nations totally dependent. As an economist and investment consultant specializing in Emerging Markets, it has always struck me that these nations were not just ambitious in terms of where they want to go, but also quite certain about how they want to get there.

Education and knowledge transfer are the key. On many occasions - when visiting one of these countries - I was asked if I were interested in a visiting scholarship. I did teach in Turkey for a semester in the 1990s and believe that I should try to be more open to it again. Even a good friend working for the World Bank indicated that they do also have a special desk that provides educational solutions next to the standard financial services that they provide.

The world is changing and Education is Key.

It struck me that there have been many efforts to find out what the good universities in the world are. However, these lists are always dominated by schools in the USA, UK and other developed nations. Just a few universities from developing countries make it to those lists. Unfortunately for those countries, because

a) higher level education will be one of the crucial success factors; and
b) we believe that the available lists do to some extent discriminate against schools from developing countries.

We did therefore take the decision to create our own research at Lodewijk Meijer Group. Our list contains almost 1,200 schools from about 135 developing countries. The ranking that we create consists for 50 percent of rankings generated elsewhere by various specialists and it is for 50 percent based on our own research.

We hope that it will provide a useful tool for students from all countries in the world, not just those in Emerging Markets. The world is changing and if you acknowledge that China, India and others will be the growth stories in the next 10-20 years then why not follow what is going on in those countries? Why always go for the Harvard's of this world, when there are maybe other options available that you never thought of!

Although our list focuses solely on schools from developing countries, we did of course compare the scores of the top-100 with those in the developed world. Our top schools are 'good' by all standards with the absolute top being 'true world class', with Noble Prize Laureates as faculty members!
Students, professors, scholars, international organizations and firms that want research to be done at reasonable prices should consider these universities as a more than reasonable alternative. The interaction will be beneficial for all.

We at Lodewijk Meijer Group believe that knowledge transfer will be the key to Emerging Market development. Not cheap labor and foreign aid. That is why we chose 'Applied Knowledge for a Changing World' as tag line for the Lodewijk Meijer Institute, our educational affiliate.
In this blog we will present those top-universities from Emerging Markets. Keep track of changes in the ranking and - of course - whenever you have questions about the list or want advice, feel free to contact us.