Amplifying ranking potential through research excellence

Amplifying research excellence can help universities to advance their ranking potential. Clarivate provides insights that help universities to promote and strategically leverage their research impact.

Today’s universities exist in a highly internationalized academic ecosystem. Both students and staff are extremely mobile, with many choices to consider for their study and careers. The era has ended when an academic institution could simply benchmark performance against its own past—in order to recruit and retain top talent, universities must strengthen and maintain competitive international standing.

University rankings are a popular way to understand where a particular university is positioned within the wider academic landscape. Rankings are a critical determinant for students when making higher education choices—especially for international students—and governments, employers and funding agencies are more favorably disposed to highly ranked universities.

Ranking systems usually measure a university’s performance across three categories: research, learning/teaching and innovation. Different ranking systems allocate different weights to these categories, and to some extent, we can label the ranking systems by the category to which they allocate the most weight. Accordingly, most of the indicators used by major ranking systems, such as number of publications, citations, number of staff, collaborations, etc., fall under one of the above-mentioned categories. However, different ranking systems allocate different weights to these indicators. Hence, we can, to some extent, label the ranking systems by the category to which they allocate more weight.

Amplifying research excellence

Out of the three categories of ranking indicators, ‘research’ is the most closely related to the performance of researchers affiliated with the specific university. ‘Research performance’ is frequently considered a strategic objective in itself by universities and governments, as it supports efforts to build knowledge-based economies and bridges the distance between academic bodies and national industries. Therefore, capitalizing on research indicators – such as Number of publications, Category Normalized Citation Impact (CNCI), Number of citations, and Number of Highly cited papers  – within research departments is a double win for universities: on one hand it supports research performance, and on the other it reflects positively on the university’s ranking across various global university ranking systems.

Understanding these indicators can help academic decision-makers to plan and strategize approaches to their university’s ranking. Furthermore, optimizing research performance in terms of both volume and impact is likely to reflect on the university ranking.

Optimizing research performance for university ranking opportunities

In order to effectively strengthen standing, universities should set their own objectives to enhance performance, and not base goals on any ranking system’s methodology. As research excellence is a key pillar of many universities’ , implementing a strategy focused on improving research quality and impact can serve to improve institutional rankings while also aligning with an institution’s mission.

At Clarivate, our Professional Services team supports many universities through workshops designed to enhance research performance. With a global presence and extensive research expertise, our team provides researchers and administrators with unique insights that can increase research impact. By investing in research excellence training, you can help increase your institution’s potential to strengthen international standing. Contact us for an initial conversation.