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General Articles
Israeli Universities Declining in Another Global University Ranking Index


Editorial Note

For a few years now, Israeli universities have been declining in global ranking. In the latest such ranking offered by the respectable Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) which ranks universities by subjects, last year Israeli universities were ranked 11 times in the top 100 per subject.  This year Israeli universities have made it only seven times to the top 100 slots.

The QS World University Ranking by Subject 2016 is covering 42 different disciplines this year. These rankings highlight the world's top-performing universities in each academic area. Published annually since 2011, the rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The report declares that "Nations like Austria, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, China and Sweden can be found in the top 10 of our tables."

HUJ was ranked three times in the 51-100 category, for agriculture and forestry; history; and anthropology. The Technion was ranked twice in the top 100 for computer science and information systems; and for mathematics. TAU was ranked in the top 100 for archeology. Weizmann Institute was placed in the top 100 for biological sciences.

The QS ranking service is published in collaboration with Elsevier, the world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.  QS is not the only one of the indices that shows the progressive decline of Israeli universities.  As IAM reported, other global indices have indicated this worrisome trend as well.
The Israeli academia has resolutely refused to deal with the issue of decline.  The Council of Higher Education has not tackled the issue, the committee of universities heads (VERA) has not dealt with the issue either and many faculty actually reject the idea that their institutions should be subjected to any ranking at all.  In this opinion, holding academics accountable for standards interfere with the "hallowed" principle of academic freedom. 
We live in a globalized and competitive economic system where academic excellence, measured by exacting statistical standards, is the rule.  The sooner this reality is acknowledged, the better. 


Israeli universities take seven of top 100 global rankings
By LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI \  03/22/2016 03:58
Israeli universities take seven of top 100 global rankings

The ranking was a decrease from 11 in 2015.

Israeli universities ranked seven times in the top 100 of the 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject. The ranking was a decrease from 11 in 2015.

The rankings compared the world’s top universities in 42 areas of study, making it the largest-ever ranking of its kind.

This year’s QS ranking included six of Israel’s leading universities – the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Bar-Ilan University.

According to the report, HU was the country’s most featured top-100 university, ranking three times in the 51-100 category – for agriculture and forestry, and history, and in QS’s inaugural anthropology rankings.

HU was also featured in 24 of the 42 subject tables, including ranking 20 times in the top 200 category of those subjects.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology ranked twice in the top 100, once for computer science and information systems, and once for mathematics.

It additionally ranked in 12 different subjects.

Tel Aviv University ranked in the top 100 for archeology, and ranked in 18 different subject tables including 15 times in the top 200.

The Weizmann Institute of Science placed in the top 100 for biological sciences, and was ranked in a total of five different subject areas.

The six universities were ranked 64 times between them – up from 60 in 2015 – ranking Israel more times than all of its Middle Eastern counterparts combined.

Egypt ranked 11 times, and once in the top 100. Iran was featured once in the top 300, and Turkey was ranked 34 times. Saudi Arabian universities were ranked 33 times, though one university, the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) ranked in the top 50 for engineering – mineral and mining.

While Israeli universities captured a number of slots, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology continued to dominate the subjects ranking list, leading in 24 subjects between them, and taking 12 leading positions.

“Though the US and UK remain dominant, our most inclusive rankings yet show that excellence can be found in an ever-increasing number of places. Nations like Austria, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, China and Sweden can be found in the top 10 of our tables. Our new top 100 for performing arts acknowledges academic excellence in 27 different countries, while our top 100 for mineral engineering recognizes it in 26,” said Ben Scowter, head of the QS Intelligence Unit.

The rankings were formulated using the expert opinion of 76,798 academics and 44,426 employers, alongside the analysis of 28.5 million research papers and over 113 million citations sourced from the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database.



QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 – Out Now!
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 5am

Released today, the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 features a record-breaking 42 subject tables – making it the largest ever release of its kind. This year sees six subjects added to the list, with new rankings for anthropology, archaeology, mining engineering,nursing, performing arts and social policy.

Published annually since 2011, the QS World University Rankings by Subject highlights the world’s top-performing institutions in a broad spectrum of individual academic areas. The rankings aim to help prospective students identify leading universities in their chosen field of study, and are being continually expanded in response to growing demand for comparisons of this kind.
At the very top, the tables are dominated by US higher education heavyweights Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, each of which claims the number one spot in 12 subjects. UK universities come first in eight subjects, while the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Switzerland each claim one top spot. A total of 16 universities claim at least one number one position.

Showcasing subject strengths worldwide

While the US and UK enjoy the lion’s share of number one positions, the rankings shine a spotlight on specialized excellence in a much broader selection of countries. Outside of the US and UK, top spots are claimed by the Netherlands’ Wageningen University (ranked first for agriculture & forestry), Switzerland’s ETH Zurich (first for earth & marine sciences) and the University of Hong Kong (first for dentistry).

Beyond the number one positions, the top 10s are again frequently dominated by US and UK institutions. Especially strong all-round performances are claimed by the University of Cambridge, University of California, Berkeley, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Harvard University, MIT, London School of Economics & Politics (LSE), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Princeton University, Yale University, Imperial College London, and UCL (University College London).

Elsewhere in the world, the National University of Singapore makes a particularly impressive showing, appearing in the top 10 of 13 different subjects. ETH Zurich is close behind with 11 appearances in the top 10, followed by the University of Hong Kong (six appearances in the top 10), University of Tokyo (five), Australian National University (four), Karolinska Institutet (four), Delft University of Technology(three) and Tsinghua University (three).

Assessing global reputation and research impact
The QS World University Rankings by Subject are compiled using indicators selected to assess institutions’ international reputation in each subject area, alongside research impact in the field. Reputation is assessed using QS’s major global surveys of academics and employers, while research impact is gauged using citations data from Elsevier’s Scopus® bibliometric database. The 2016 results draw on the opinions of 76,798 academics and 44,426 employers, alongside analysis of 28.5 million research papers and over 113 million citations.

A total of 945 universities appear in the published range of results for at least one subject, while 49 countries are home to at least one top-100 institution. Just over a third (36%) of the top-50 positions go to US universities, 15% to UK universities, and a further 15% to European universities excluding the UK. Asian universities account for 16% of the top-50 spots, while Australia claims 9% of these positions, and Canada 6%. Although Latin American and African institutions are less strongly represented, these regions’ leading institutions do feature in many different subjects.

The results are presented in interactive online tables, which can be filtered by location and by performance indicator. To explore the results on your mobile device, download the free QS World University Rankings app, available for iPhone and Android. For more in-depth analysis, download our dedicated country reports.
View the full QS World University Rankings by Subject
Written by Laura Bridgestock


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