China, Singapore break into top 100 in Shanghai ranking

United States universities took the top three spots in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, or Shanghai ranking, published last week, where there was little change at the top. But China and Singapore both broke into the top 100 for the first time.

The biggest climber in the US-dominated top 20 was the United Kingdom’s Oxford University, which moved up three places to seventh.

But there were no new entries into the top 10 and Harvard University’s total score of 100 was more than 25 points above second-placed Stanford. The US took eight out of the top ten and 15 of the top 20, with Harvard top for the 14th year running. The UK took two top 10 spots and three in the top 20. Switzerland and Japan took one top 20 spot each.

After Stanford University (74.7), third-placed University of California, Berkley (70.1) was closely followed by the University of Cambridge (69.6) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT (69.2).

Princeton University took sixth spot (62.0), followed by the University of Oxford (58.9), California Institute of Technology (57.8), Columbia University (56.7); and University of Chicago (54.2) took tenth spot.

Yale University (52.8); University of California, Los Angeles (51.5); Cornell University (49.0); University of California, San Diego (47.7); University of Washington (47.3); and Johns Hopkins University (46.0), all from the US, took spots 11-16.

They were followed in the top 20 by a third UK institution, University College London (45.3); University of Pennsylvania, US (44.5); Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich or ETH Zurich, Switzerland (43.8); and the University of Tokyo, Japan (42.2).

Chinese mainland universities broke into the top 100 for the first time with Tsinghua University at 58th, beating the elite Peking University (71st). Singapore was also represented in the top 100 for the first time with National University of Singapore at joint 83rd.

But Japan remains the strongest Asia-Pacific performer with Tokyo at 20th, Kyoto University at 32nd, Nagoya University at 72nd and Osaka University 96th. Tohoku (101-150) and Hokkaido (151-200) universities also made it into the top 200.

The UK’s two top universities both climbed places, Cambridge moving up one spot and Oxford up three.

The highest continental European entry is ETH Zurich at 19th, followed by Denmark’s University of Copenhagen at joint 30th and France’s Pierre and Marie Curie University at 39th.

Australia's University of Melbourne was in 40th place and was the highest performing country in Oceania. For the first time six Australian universities made the top 100. In all 23 made the top 500. The University of Queensland moved from 77th to 55th.

South Africa took four of five places held by African universities. The University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town made it into the top 300 and Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal were ranked in the top 401-500.

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi‚ deputy vice-chancellor for research at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Times Live: “Our research output as a country is at one of its highest levels to date‚ and this bears testament to the high quality of research emanating from South Africa.”

Ranked by the number of universities in the top 20, the US came top with 15, followed by the UK (three) and Japan and Switzerland (both with one).

Ranked by top 100, the US came top (50); followed by the UK (eight); Australia (six); Japan, Switzerland and Canada (four each); Germany, France, the Netherlands and Sweden (three each); China, Belgium, Israel, Denmark (two each); and Norway, Singapore, Finland and Russia with one each.

Ranked by top 500 China does much better, coming second with 54 to the US’s 137, Germany is third with 38, pipping the UK with 37. Australia is fifth with 23, just ahead of France with 22 and Canada and Italy with 19 each. Japan is ninth with 16 and the Netherlands and Spain are joint tenth with 12.

By region Europe beats the Americas only in the top 500 but is second in the top 20, top 50, top 100, top 200, top 300 and top 400. Asia/Oceania is third in all categories but Africa barely figures at all, with just five in the top 500.

The Shanghai ranking was developed in 2003 and has been published independently by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy since 2009. It presents the world’s top 500 universities annually.

Outside the top 100, universities are banded into groups of 50 or 100 to accommodate statistically insignificant variations in scores at this level.

An independent ranking, it uses six indicators to rank universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Reuters, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance of a university.

More than 1,200 universities are ranked every year by the Academic Ranking of World Universities or ARWU but only the top 500 are published.