Republic of Poland

Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences is in the Shanghai Ranking!

July 31st 2018

The first time the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences was rated in the Shanghai Ranking was in 2017 (for the year 2016). In the field of food science and technology we were placed 255th among 300 highest evaluated universities in the world. The success was determined by, among other things, number of citations – mainly from works of the authors from the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Science. This year WUELS improved its position jumping to the 186th place. The Poznań University of Life Sciences was ranked 188th and the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) – between 101 and 150th. For the first time our Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was also ranked – in the 190th place. Among Polish universities ranked between 201st and 300th place there are also: the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, the Poznań University of Life Sciences and the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking was created in the city of the Jiao Tong University which includes the Institute of Higher Education. This is where the idea of the ranking was born. It analyses staff and students with regard to awards in prestigious scientific competitions, number of citations and publications in major scientific journals.

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In the newest ranking the first place was granted to the Harvard University and from European Universities the highest was Cambridge - ranked third. The first technical University, according to ARWU, is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ranked fourth. Two Polish universities – Warsaw and Jagiellonian were put between the 401th and 600th place in the overall rating.

For some time, however, the Ranking has been including also specific fields of study and this is where WUELS found its place – in the area of food technology and veterinary science.

Indicators which constitute the basis for the analysis include: PUB – minimum number of documents registered in WoS for specific research disciplines, CNCI – Category Normalized Citation Impact, i.e. the ratio of citations within one discipline and unit to world average of citations; TOP – the number of publications published in TOP Journals (20% journals with the highest IF factor); IC – International Collaboration, which is calculated on the basis of the ratio of publications in which at least two or more authors were included from countries different than the one with which the authors of a given publication were affiliated, to all publications for a given research discipline and affiliations, as well as AWARD – major scientific awards received by the authors while being employed full-time at a given institution.

The ranking was based on the data from the years 2012-2016.

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During the last 16 years the Shanghai Ranking has not changed its methodology. Thanks to this, Universities in the whole world are able to compare their achievements and position but also make decisions concerning long-term strategies – says dr XUEJUN WANG – the manager of the Shanghai Ranking.

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fot. Krzysztof Wojciechowski (”Perspektywy”)

Academic Rankings stimulate changes in university education and show possible paths of development. You represent the largest and the most prestigious “Academic Ranking of World Universities”. How does the ranking rate universities, what criteria does it take into account?

ARWU focuses on the most important scholarly achievements. In order to compare universities, it uses six indicators: graduates who won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; academic teachers who won Nobel prizes and Fields Medals, researchers’ citations, articles published in “Nature” and “Science”, articles indexed in the bases of Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Science Citation Index and individual scientific achievements. These indicators refer to both education quality and the academic staff which carries out the education process. The evaluation includes also individual scientific output and scientific achievements of universities.

Rankings are a staple of international university education and they change along with it. How has the ranking tranformed during the fifteen years of its existence?

The ARWU ranking was created to help the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai evaluate its position in comparison with the best universities from other countries. During its 15 years, the ranking has not changed significantly when it comes to its methodology. It is thanks to this that universities can monitor their positions during this period and compare them with the achievements of other universities. Moreover, in previous years we created a range of new rankings, such as subject rankings or Chinese university rankings.

These new rankings, among other things, rate universities with regard to scientific disciplines. Last year the “by-subject” ranking included 52 fields of study from the areas of life sciences, medical studies, as well as natural and mathematical studies. Why the change? Earlier it included just 12 disciplines.

Last year, as a part of gathering data for the Ranking, we carried out a survey called Academic Excellence and received information from the academic staff of 100 best universities in the world. Thanks to those opinions we were able to identify the most important prizes awarded to academics, and since it is an important element of university quality evaluation, we managed to broaden our ranking to include 52 fields.

The University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Wrocław was ranked between the 301st and 400th place among universities carrying research in the field of food science and technology, as well as veterinary science. What factors determine a university’s position in the “by-subject” ranking?

The position is determined by: average impact factor of a periodical measuring citation impact on the basis of the InCites (CNCI) base, number of articles published by staff (PUB), number of articles published in top periodicals (TOP), percentage of articles written as a result of international cooperation and the number of employees who received significant distinctions in disciplines analysed in the ranking (AWARD). For the area of food and technology sciences the three first categories have 100 in the weighted average and the international cooperation – 20. The University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Wrocław score was: PUB – 36.4, CNCI – 70, IC – 45.8, TOP – 34.

In many countries special programmes have been initiated to boost development of selected Universities – “Excellence Initiatives”. Universities of the Ivy League, and not only them, included the improvement of their Shanghai List position in their strategies. How, do you think, the Ranking influenced changes at universities around the world?

The ranking is for the universities the most popular tool for determining their position against other schools. Analyses support making strategic decisions. As creators of the ranking we encourage universities to learn about methodologies and analyse the data, and to use these parts of the ranking which are useful and relevant during decision-taking. We are going to include new subjects into our list and create new rankings. Since we are very careful when it comes to methodological coherence, we are able to make new rankings only when we have reliable data. It took us many years to broaden our subject ranking so that it could include so many fields of study.