Mbaranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities Methodology

Candidate Universities

ARWU considers every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with a significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included. In total, more than 2500 universities are actually ranked, and the best 1000 are published.

Ranking Criteria and Weights

Universities are ranked by several academic or research performance indicators, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution. For each indicator, the highest scoring institution is assigned a score of 100, and other institutions are calculated as a percentage of the top score. The data distribution for each indicator is examined for any significant distorting effect; standard statistical techniques are used to adjust the indicator if necessary. Scores for each indicator are weighted as shown below to arrive at a final overall score for an institution.

Indicators and Weights for ARWU

CriteriaIndicatorCodeWeight
Quality of EducationAlumni of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Fields MedalsAlumni10%
Quality of FacultyStaff of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Fields MedalsAward20%
Highly Cited ResearchersHiCi20%
Papers published in Nature and Science*N&S20%
Research OutputPapers indexed in Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation IndexPUB20%
Per Capita PerformancePer capita academic performance of an institutionPCP10%
*For institutions specialized in humanities and social sciences such as London School of Economics, N&S is not considered, and the weight of N&S is relocated to other indicators.

Definition of Indicators

IndicatorDefinition
AlumniNumber of the alumni of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals. Alumni are defined as those who obtain bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees from the institution. Different weights are set according to the periods of obtaining degrees. The weight is 100% for alumni obtaining degrees after 2011, 90% for alumni obtaining degrees in 2001-2010, 80% for alumni obtaining degrees in 1991-2000, and so on, and finally 10% for alumni obtaining degrees in 1921-1930. If a person obtains more than one degree from an institution, the institution is considered once only.
AwardNumber of the staff of an institution winning Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine and Economics and Fields Medal in Mathematics. Staff is defined as those who work at an institution at the time of winning the prize. Different weights are set according to the periods of winning the prizes. The weight is 100% for winners after 2021, 90% for winners in 2011-2020, 80% for winners in 2001-2010, 70% for winners in 1991-2000, and so on, and finally 10% for winners in 1931-1940. If a winner is affiliated with more than one institution, each institution is assigned the reciprocal of the number of institutions. For Nobel prizes, if a prize is shared by more than one person, weights are set for winners according to their proportion of the prize.
HiCiNumber of Highly Cited Researchers selected by Clarivate. The Highly Cited Researchers list issued in January 2023 was used for the calculation of HiCi indicator in ARWU 2023. Only the primary affiliations of Highly Cited Researchers are considered.
N&SNumber of research articles published in Nature and Science between 2018 and 2022. To distinguish the order of author affiliation, a weight of 100% is assigned for corresponding author affiliation, 50% for first author affiliation (second author affiliation if the first author affiliation is the same as corresponding author affiliation), 25% for the next author affiliation, and 10% for other author affiliations. When there are more than one corresponding author address, we consider the first corresponding author address as the corresponding author address and consider other corresponding author addresses as first author address, second author address etc. following the order of the author addresses. Only publications of ‘Article’ type are considered.
PUBNumber of papers indexed in Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index in 2022. Only publications of ‘Article’ type are considered. When calculating the total number of papers of an institution, a special weight of two was introduced for papers indexed in Social Science Citation Index.
PCPWeighted scores of the above five indicators divided by the number of full-time equivalent academic staff. If the number of academic staff for institutions of a country cannot be obtained, the average number of academic staff for world top 1000 universities will be used for all institutions in this country. For ARWU 2023, the numbers of full-time equivalent academic staff are obtained for institutions in USA, UK, China, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, South Korea, Czechia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Austria, Norway, Poland, Israel etc.

Data Sources

IndicatorData Source
Nobel Prize Laureateshttp://www.nobelprize.org/
Fields Medalistshttp://www.mathunion.org/
Highly Cited Researchershttps://clarivate.com/highly-cited-researchers/
N&Shttp://www.webofscience.com/
Web of Science Papershttp://www.webofscience.com/
Staff dataNumber of academic staff data is obtained from national or regional agencies such as National Ministry of Education, National Bureau of Statistics, National Association of Universities and Colleges, National Rector’s Conference.
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