An International Watchdog for Rankings

The International Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence will evaluate the performance of various ratings.

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The rapidly growing worldwide interest in university rankings has led to the formation of the first international organization dedicated to the field. U.S. News is very proud to be a member of the recently created International Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, formed in April. (I'm on the executive committee.)

The group grew out of the International Ranking Experts Group, which was formed in 2004 in Washington. This new group is a truly global body whose members are leading rankers and analysts in their countries. Members of the executive committee are from Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Shanghai; Warsaw; Toronto; Gütersloh, Germany; Washington; Astana , Kazakhstan; Bratislava, the Slovak Republic; London; Maribor, Slovenia; and Kiev, Ukraine. More countries and members will be added soon.

The International Observatory, headquartered in Warsaw, will conduct reviews of various "academic rankings" and measures of "academic excellence" to assess how well they serve higher education stakeholders and the general public. The observatory will use the recommendations formulated in the Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions. Members of the body also will meet at the request of various ranking agencies to review their particular methodology criteria and standards. Ranking entities that receive observatory approval will be able to declare themselves "IREG Recognized."

I will use this blog to keep readers informed on the evolution and activities of the IREG-International Observatory and what impact it has on rankings around the world. The next meeting of the group will be in June 2009 in Astana.