Papers and Citations, evaluated in some fashion to take into account the size of institution, are the best understood and most widely accepted measure of research strength.
Often calculated on a “per paper” basis, the QS World University Rankings® has adopted a “per faculty member” approach since its inception in 2004. The Citations per Faculty score contributes 20% to the overall rankings score.
The Regional Approach
However, when devising new methodologies for the regional rankings the matter of language becomes a more important consideration. At a global level, the focus is on institutions that are contributing to knowledge and science at a global scale – publishing in English is an essential part of collaborative academic progress globally.
Part of the intention behind the deeper regional exercises is to evaluate a larger number of institutions – not only those contributing globally, but those who are important regionally, nationally and within their local communities – where publishing in English is not a pre-requisite in the same way.
These two indicators, each in their own way serve to be a little more rewarding to institutions that may publish a significant proportion of their research in other languages.
Papers per Faculty looks at publication volume within SciVerse Scopus regardless of language (Scopus accepts non-English content as long as there are English language abstracts).
Citations per Paper focuses on the performance of the papers an institution produces that are actually indexed in Scopus – ignoring efforts undertaken resulting in publication in local language journals that may not be covered by Scopus. A publication threshold of 100 papers is applied to eliminate anomalous low numbers of papers from overly benefiting small institutions.
Notes & Clarifications
In processing data from Scopus, QS has to do a lot of work to figure out which organisations in Scopus comprise which records in our rankings. In doing this we group distinct affiliations in Scopus under the single university entity in our database. For example, Scopus records for Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School are folded into the analysis for Harvard University. Similarly affiliated hospitals and technical research institutes are also counted in our analysis for papers and citations, where we are made aware of the relationship. In these instances we often depend on the support of the institution to tell us where these relationships exist.