The big news for us in the past few days is of course that we are No. 10 in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings of Academic Institutions in India. Just so that it is clear as to what this means, I went to the THE website and learned that this ranking is from data compiled by Thomson Reuters. The ranking is based on responses from around 16,300 leading peer-reviewed academics from across the world who were asked to nominate no more than 15 of the best institutions in their field of expertise.

39% of responses were from the Americas, 26% from Europe, 25% from Asia Pacific and 12%  from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia; 18% of the respondents were from the physical sciences, 21.3% from engineering and technology, 22.1% from the social sciences, 15.4% from clinical subjects, 12.7% from life sciences and 10.5% from the arts and humanities.

UntitledWho were the other 9 in the top 10? IISc, five of the IITs (Bombay, Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur). AIIMS. Along with us, the other universities are Delhi and Aligarh. One can critique methodology, analysis and inference all one wants, but still its nice to be up there in the list, although most of the others in the top 10 are so different from the UoH, one wonders about the nature of the ranking…  Reputation is such a tenuous (and ephemeral) thing, and as Iago realized, so valuable.

And value it, we do. What we seem to do with much less felicity, though, is to ask the right questions (as the THE people seem to have!) and when (or if) asked, our answers are often wanting…  I had actually started on this post a while ago, sparked by some concern on the poor flow of information on campus, almost as if we have an informal DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!) policy on all issues. But that’s really for another post.

Which finally brings me to what makes a ranking that is based on the opinion that other academics have of us.  In no specific order, this would probably have to include

  • Research papers, which is where most others read about our work
  • Books that our faculty and students publish
  • Seminars and Conferences, where they may have participated…
  • Scholars on campus, who they have heard of
  • Alumni, our best ambassadors
  • Visitors to our campus who talk about us…

There doubtless are many other factors, of course, but like I said it’s good to be on the short list… And it also gives us an idea of what we need to work on to get higher up there…


6 thoughts on “REPUTAT10N

  1. Dear sir,

    As an alumnus, and currently a research student in IISc, in my opinion UoH is one of the best universities in the world. If we have to climb up the list, we need to focus on industrial collaborations and applied research: it would be nice to include more industrial collaboration to improve our research activities.

  2. Bravo! University of Hyderabad! Feel proud to be a faculty here inspite of all its idiosyncrasies. Been associated with Delhi University, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi which are also in the list. Proud again to be associated with this circle.

  3. To me it is much more than half glass filled; reason being a reasonable sampling (16,000 plus) covering wide length and breadth of the globe. As it was pointed out that the IITs scraped through mainly due to their immense reputation; but a true measure could have been on research, teaching and the resources (staff/facilities/alumni) an academic institution posses. The greatness of UoH lies in the hard work of turning passionate students from (mostly) rural background into immensely talented researchers/academicians rather than scooping the top cream of minds aspiring to make big in their lives via the brand IIT.

  4. Like what you said, reputation can be both fragile and fleeting! Something like the wise men used to say about men’s fate and women’s… All the same, this was certainly not attained by a sudden flight!

    We have certainly burnt midnight oil and paid for this with blood and sweat. Recognitions have a habit of coming when you stop caring about them… Strange, but we are in good company with DU and AMU. Free radicals, any one?

    We are still nobody in the world. We have a long way to go.

  5. Reputation (be it of an individual or an institution) is certainly a worthy tag to be proud and cherished by all academicians. We should remember that ranking is always an academic exercise of comparison based on certain chosen criteria which can be quantified. Can anyone dare to question the ranking of Harvard and Oxford universities as baseless? How come we feel happy when we are at No 1 position, but start questioning the rationale behind the method of ranking when we drop to the 10th position? Instead, let us introspect ourselves and find out the reasons for slipping down the rank. I think it is easier to reach the top position than to remain in it.
    I hope UoH would regain its past glory and become of beacon of hope for others to emulate.

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