Rankings and league tables of universities are ubiquitous. While objections to their methodology are obvious and much debated, they are clearly a necessity as the starting-point for sifting through the vast amounts of data on university quality.
There is no official Irish government ranking of universities, and while there is a blizzard of official statistics about Irish universities, there is no very obvious way of turning them into a ranking – quality assurance mechanisms produce general assessments and suggestions for improvement, rather than producing a mark or score.
World rankings. There are a number of rankings which seek to identify leading universities world-wide. Different ranking use very different methodologies, and are indeed not asking the same questions (some are meant to inform those planning to take a degree, others seek to determine the degree of influence or prominence of faculty members in an international context). For lists of rankings and discussion, see: College and university rankings (Wikipedia).
Some frequently-cited rankings relevant to Ireland are:
- 4icu University Web Ranking
- ARWU (Shanghai) Ranking
- EduRoute Ranking
- Leiden Ranking
- QS ’50 under 50′
- QS Faculty Ranking
- QS Stars
- QS Student Cities
- QS Subject Ranking
- QS University Ranking
- SCIMAGO Institutions Ranking
- Sunday Times League Table
- Sunday Times University/IT of the Year
- Taiwan Ranking (formerly the HEEACT Ranking)
- Times Higher Education ’100 under 50′ Ranking
- Times Higher Education Reputation Ranking
- Times Higher Education World University Ranking
- UI GreenMetric World University Ranking
- Universitas 21 Ranking
- URAP – Field-based rankings
- URAP – World rankings
- Webometrics Ranking
See also: CRELL: critiquing global university rankings and their methodologies (GlobalHigherEd, 27 January 2009); IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence; The Role and Relevance of Rankings in Higher Education Policymaking (IHEP, September 2009); University rankings don’t tell the whole story (Irish Times, 21 April 2009).