Bad hair day for ranking interpreters

by A Learned Reader


There’s a risk of hair self-harm as metric mavens struggle to understand the construction of the new league table from the Centre for World University Rankings (CMM yesterday).

Whilst the performance of Curtin U (and others) in the CWUR ranking is admirable, the main frustration for many institutions is that CWUR appear to have again changed the methodology to produce this ranking, with the changes not explained on its website, as of yesterday afternoon.

This is on top of changes in 2018, where CWUR’s quality of education, alumni employment and quality of faculty indicators were reduced to 15 per cent each (previously 25 per cent each). There was also a greater emphasis on research outputs, with a new measure of them, relating to volume, introduced, while two previous measures (broad impact and patents) were removed.

This year, CWUR ranks “research performance” along with quality of education, alumni employment and quality of faculty.  Perhaps the previous indicators relating to research outputs (volume, citations, quality and influence) are now included in ‘research performance’ measure, but this is unknown.

The methodology page on the CWUR website simply indicates that “the methodology will be enhanced for the 2019-2020 edition of the rankings to give equal emphasis to the learning environment and research.”

This causes hair-tearing frustration for university staff who report on rankings and provide analysis on ‘why our ranking has changed’ to senior management.

The learned reader is a research analyst at an Australian university


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