GLOBAL: New book on university rankings

University rankings are a relatively new phenomenon. Although quite an established practice in the US, it is only in the last decade that attempts to analyse university performance have spread to the rest of the world and new rankings have appeared that attempt to measure university performance beyond national borders. This trend has been accompanied by growing interest in studying rankings throughout the world. University Rankings, Diversity, and the New Landscape of Higher Education, edited by Barbara M Kehm and Bjørn Stensaker, is an effort to better understand rankings and their effects on higher education.

A serious approach towards university rankings implies that they should be analysed properly - including the methods used and the indicators chosen - and that the objectives claimed should be investigated, according to a release about the book. "If university rankings are considered as consumer information then everyone should have an interest in basing such guidance on valid and reliable data and methodology. A serious analysis should also discuss the wider implications of rankings as an emerging phenomenon in higher education."

The contributions in the book, it continues, "investigate and analyse how different rankings work, how they reach their conclusions, and on what data and methodology they are built. Furthermore, it provides a critical reflection on the impact of rankings on higher education, how and in what way rankings influence."

University Rankings, Diversity, and the New Landscape of Higher Education is published by Sense Publishers: Rotterdam and Taipeh. Barbara M Kehm is with the International Centre for Higher Education Research-Kassel, at the University of Kassel, and Bjørn Stensaker is with NIFU STEP in Oslo, a leading Norwegian research institute for studies in innovation, research and education. The publication costs Euro45 and can be ordered at: