I have just returned from two international conferences in Asia. The first one, International Trends in University Rankings and Its Impact on Higher Education Policy, was held in Taipei. The conference was organized by the Higher Education and Accreditation Council of Taiwan. There were participants from many universities from all parts of Taiwan. I discussed the third annual U.S. News World's Best Universities rankings, explaining why U.S. News is doing global university rankings, and how global university rankings differ from national rankings of colleges in just one country.
The Taiwan conference provided a forum to discuss the pitfalls and challenges that result from the worldwide spread of university rankings. My presentation and others at the conference enabled representatives from many colleges in Taiwan to understand the methodology and impact that college rankings can have on students and higher education policy makers.
I was also in Wuhan, China, to speak at the very successful 6th International Conference on Scientometrics and University Evaluation, organized by the Research Centre for Chinese Science Evaluation at Wuhan University. The conference had more than 200 participants from all parts of China as well as from other countries. The talks were mainly on college rankings and other aspects of university evaluation with special emphasis on the field of citation analysis. I spoke about U.S. News's Best Colleges rankings and the impact those rankings have had in the United States in terms of prospective students and of the colleges themselves. I also discussed some of the impliscations of the U.S. News ranking experience for universities in China. In addition, I talked about the reasons behind—and the implications of—the current phenomenon that has led to college rankings being published in more than 30 countries around the world and the rise of global rankings.
These international gatherings serve a positive purpose: They help those using rankings to better understand the problems and limitations of rankings. These conferences also enable those who produce rankings to talk with others in their field to develop better and more reliable rankings. They also show that college rankings are now truly global.
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