U.S.News & World Report's World's Best Universities rankings, based on the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, identified these to be world's top universities in 2009.
U.S.News & World Report's 2009 World's Best Universities rankings are based on data from the THE-QS World University Rankings. The new rankings are produced in association with QS Quacquarelli Symonds, one of the world's leading networks for top careers and education.
The 2009 World's Best Universities rankings were developed to present a multifaceted view of the relative strengths of the world's leading universities. Weightings are decided by Times Higher Education and are based on its opinion of the importance of the measured criteria balanced against the effectiveness of the indicator to evaluate the intended measure. The overall Top 200 Universities Worldwide, the Top 30 Asian Universities, the Top 30 European Universities, the Top 20 Canadian Universities, and the Top 20 Australian and New Zealand Universities rankings are compiled based on five distinct indicators. This table provides the weights that were used and a brief explanation of each of the ranking indicators.
|Ranking Indicator||Explanation of Ranking Indicator||Weighting of Ranking Indicator|
|Academic Peer Review||Composite score drawn from peer review survey (which is divided into five subject areas). Total three-year 2007-2009 responses used in 2009 rankings were 9,386.||40%|
|Employer Review||Score based on responses to employer survey. Total three-year 2007-2009 responses used in 2009 rankings were 3,281.||10%|
|Student-to-Faculty Ratio||Score based on student-to-faculty ratio||20%|
|Citations per Faculty Member||Score based on research performance factored against the size of the research body||20%|
|International Faculty||Score based on the proportion of international faculty at the schools||5%|
|International Students||Score based on the proportion of international students at the school||5%|
Academic Peer Review
The academic peer review is the centerpiece of the U.S. News World's Best Universities rankings and is based on an online survey distributed to academics worldwide. Results are compiled based on three years' worth of responses totaling 9,386 in 2009. Respondents are not permitted to submit their own institution or to respond more than once (their latest response is counted). Weightings are applied both geographically and by discipline to ensure as fair a representative spread as possible.
Similar to the academic peer review, this indicator is based on a global online survey, this time distributed to employers. Results are again based on three years' worth of "latest response" data, totaling 3,281 in 2009. Geographical weightings are again applied to ensure fair representation from the different regions of the world.
Faculty-student ratio is used in many ranking systems and evaluations in the world. While it may not be a perfect measure of teaching quality, it is the most globally available and accessible measure of commitment to teaching. The ratio is an indicator to determine whether a given institution has sufficient staff to teach its students.
Citations per Faculty Member
Citations are a widely used conventional measure of research strength. A citation is a reference to one academic publication in the text of another. The more citations a publication receives, the better it is perceived to be, and the more highly cited papers a university publishes, the stronger it can be considered to be. As a measure, this criterion is somewhat geared toward scientific and technical subjects, which is the reason it doesn't carry more weight in these rankings. The source used in this evaluation is Scopus, the world's largest abstract and citation database of research literature. The latest five complete years of data are used. The total citation count is factored against the number of faculty members in order to take into account the size of the institution.
In today's increasingly global marketplace, the most successful universities have to attract the world's best students and faculty from countries other than their own. Simple evaluations of the proportion of international students and the proportion of international faculty members serve as two separate indicators of an institution's international attractiveness.