Of all a university’s assets – an attractive campus, an accomplished faculty, a range of technological resources for teaching and research, a generous endowment, thriving enrollment, etc. – one of the most important is, ironically, invisible: Reputation. This one asset, in fact, can ensure and perpetuate a university’s more tangible attributes.
A strong global reputation, for example, empowers a university’s ability to recruit high-quality staff and students, establish valuable international partnerships, and connect with greater funding prospects. Reputation, of course, can establish an auspicious, self-fulfilling loop, as reputational standing helps secure the necessary leverage and means for administrators to enhance their institutions, thereby maintaining the heightened reputation.
Therefore, the application of sophisticated analytics in order to track, understand, and evaluate one’s institutional reputation can provide critical insight with which to develop better-informed strategies aimed achieving short- and long-term goals.
For the past eight years, Clarivate Analytics has amassed a wealth of detailed reputational data as part of its Global Institutional Profiles Project. For each of approximately 800 institutions, the profile data includes performance and benchmarking metrics featured in InCites, as well as demographic information on faculty and students submitted by the institutions themselves.
Another key component of the profile data is the Clarivate Analytics Academic Reputation Survey. Undertaken annually since 2010, the survey has now collected seven full years of data, reflecting answers from 77,000 invited survey participants. These respondents, 90 percent of whom are academic faculty or researchers, represent 6,500 academic institutions in 150 countries. The participants are carefully selected by geographic location – the survey is offered in nine languages, to control for language and translation bias – and by representation in 105 specialty areas, in order to provide valid statistical sampling.
Questions for the survey are carefully designed to be as relevant and discipline-specific as possible, giving respondents the opportunity to select lesser-known institutions along with traditional powerhouses. Such granular matters as teaching quality, the strength of individual departments, and shifting trends can all be addressed and enumerated.
With data from the Academic Reputation Survey incorporated into InCites, administrators now have access to detailed information on reputational standing, for their own institution as well as for current or aspirational peers. Thus, marks for reputation in research and teaching can be closely tracked and compared across disciplines. Administrators have the tools to gauge where resources can best be allocated to strengthen programs and departments, thus building towards higher standing – not only in reputation but, ultimately, in formal rankings.
Data collection for the eighth consecutive year of the Global Institutional Profiles Project is currently underway, through May.