Warsaw, 15 May 2013
A number of QSIU evaluations “IREG Approved”
After a fifteen month process a number of our ranking projects have come through the IREG Audit process and been deemed “IREG Approved”. Full details of the Audit process can be found on the IREG Observatory website here. QS has been the first international rankings compiler to volunteer to undertake the process. It seems only fair that we should be subjected to the same kind of transparency that we demand of the universities we evaluate. The Audit examined the following:
- QS World University Rankings® (including the QS World University Rankings by Subject)
- QS University Rankings: Asia
- QS University Rankings: Latin America
The Audit Team was made up of four academics and education experts from four countries, with no involvement in or affiliation to any ranking exercise and their decision was ratified by the Executive Committee of IREG in Warsaw.
Due to the range and scope of QS activities, it is important to note that as a rating system, rather than a ranking system, QS Stars has not been examined by the IREG Audit process and is not eligible for consideration, nor has the QS Best Student Cities been considered. The IREG Approved badge is conferred only on the rankings that have been examined and not, by default, on the organisation undertaking them.
Furthermore, it is important to stipulate that this is not an eternal award. The IREG Approved status is conferred on these rankings until December 31, 2016. Prior to which these and any other rankings QS puts forward will need to be re-audited.
The precise wording of the final decision reads thus:
Ranking Audit Decision of the Executive Committee
of IREG Observatory concerning the audit of rankings
submitted by QS Intelligence Unit
The Executive Committee at its meeting in Paris on 22nd of March 2013 discussed the outcomes of the audit of the following three rankings produced by QS Intelligence Unit – QS World University Rankings, QS University Rankings Asia, and QS University Rankings Latin America. After analyzing the documents which reflect and attest a great attention to due process as well as work done by all involved in the audit process, the Executive Committee requested additional clarifications regarding the current presentation of the above mentioned three QS Intelligence Unit university rankings along with the “QS Stars” rating. The Executive Committee noted that “QS Stars” were not a part of the self-report under review, hence, were not subject of the audit procedure. However, the Executive Committee considers it is important to point out that QS Intelligence has a responsibility to assure that “IREG Approved” label is solely associated with three rankings which have been subject of IREG Audit. In this regard QS Intelligence Unit observes the following:
The IREG label is used [in printed and Internet presentations] strictly in connection with the ranking that has been evaluated in course of the audit and in according to the IREG Ranking Audit procedure. This clause should assure that in case of printed material or internet presentation no link is made suggesting concomitant coverage of “QS Stars”.
QS Intelligence will make an effort to adjust its website presentation of the three rankings which have been subject of IREG Audit in such manner that eliminates eventual link between the rankings and “QS Stars” or any other ratings.
The Executive Committee at its meeting in Warsaw on 15 of May 2013, decided to grant QS Intelligence the rights to use the “IREG Approved” label in relation to the three rankings produced by QS Intelligence Unit – QS World University Rankings, QS University Rankings Asia, and QS University Rankings Latin America for the period ending December 31, 2016.
QSIU has already filed proposals for design changes to results pages to more clearly distinguish rankings content from that derived from QS Stars. Concept designs have been shared with the IREG Executive Committee and should appear on our site topuniversities.com within the next couple of months.
Overall the Audit process has been rewarding, it is good to know that we are working in a way that stands up to external scrutiny, but it has also provided and stimulated some ideas on how we can make our work still more relevant and useful to its key stakeholders. We are looking forward to undertaking what will likely be a still more demanding Audit process in 2016.