IRAN: Islamic universities rating system launchedIslamic World Science Citation Center has launched a new classification system for Islamic universities, using the criteria of research and education performance, international cooperation and scientific impact. The first phase of the system has been implemented by ranking Iran's universities and research institutes.
Extracting data from databases such as ISI, Scopus and Google Scholar allows for powerful and useful analysis for evaluating research performance from an international perspective. But this is inadequate for assessing scientific research in Islamic universities, as most of the Islamic countries' journals are not covered - especially those not using English.
The new Islamic World Science Citation Center (ISC) classification system uses key performance indicators, including research (50%), education (35%), international outlook (7%), facilities (3%) and socio-economic impact (5%). The system extracts data both from direct contact with universities and from institutions' research journals, which are collected and processed in different subsystems of the ISC.
ISC databases provide access to current and retrospective bibliographic information and cited references found in approximately 1,352 titles, covering engineering, science, agriculture, medicine and the humanities. Currently the languages used by the ISC include Farsi (Persian), Arabic and English.
Using the new system, on 10 January the ISC published a list detailing the ranking of top universities in Iran based on their activities in the period June to December 2010. The top five institutions were the University of Tehran, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology, AmirKabir University of Technology and Iran University of Science and Technology.
Hassanuddeen Abd Aziz, dean of the Centre for Postgraduate Studies at the International Islamic University Malaysia, welcomed the new ISC system, which he sees as "an ideal tool for improving the international profile of Islamic universities and research publications in domestic journals".
"The Islamic universities classification system will also provide policy-makers with a good guide for formulating appropriate higher education policies," Abd Aziz told University World News.
"Malaysia has taken the Islamic lead and produced its national universities classification system, by measuring the performance of undergraduate teaching and learning in universities and university colleges," he pointed out.
Abd Aziz concluded: "The ISC will increase the visibility and citation of scientific research, leading to promoting national and regional cooperation among Islamic universities and this, in turn, will improve the position of the Islamic universities among world-class universities."
While the three oldest universities in the world are located in the Islamic world - including the Morocco-based University of Al-Karaouine, the Egypt-based Al-Azhar University and the Iran-based Nizamiyya - none of the 1,700 universities located in the Islamic world were included in the most recent list of the top 100 world-class universities.