Why top 400 matters

By Professor Ian O’Connor

Vice Chancellor

It was pleasing to hear that Griffith has advanced its international ranking in the CWTS Leiden Rankings with the recent announcement of their top 500 list.

We progressed 29 places from 412th in 2012 to 383rd in 2013. The Leiden rankings measure research impact based on the proportion of articles belonging to the top 10% most frequently cited articles, compared with other publications in the same field and in the same year. The University’s enhanced standing indicates an improvement in research quality as well as volume from our researchers.

Griffith now appears in the top 400 in three major international rankings – the other two being the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and the QS World University Rankings. For more on our performance in the 2013 Leiden rankings see here.

And for the second consecutive year, the University was ranked 60thin the Asia-Pacific region and 8thamongst Australian universities in theNatureAsia-Pacific Publishing Index. This index ranks institutions based on the number of primary research papers published within the last five years (2008-2012).Naturejournals cover a broad spectrum of basic research in the life sciences, physical and chemical sciences.

People often ask why university rankings matter so much to me and to other Vice Chancellors and whether they should be of any consequence to staff and students.

As European expert Andrejs Rauhvargers argued recently in a report for the European Universities Association, “Even if academics are aware that the results of rankings are biased and cannot satisfactorily measure institutional quality, on a more pragmatic level they also recognise that an impressive position in the rankings can be a key factor in securing additional resources, recruiting more students and attracting strong partner institutions.”

At the present time, Griffith’s impressive performance on the major world rankings not only reinforces our reputation as one of Australia’s rapidly advancing universities but also insulates us from the negative impact of changes to government policies, tough economic circumstances and changing patterns of student enrolment.

This is important to staff, students and other stakeholders as Griffith is seen as a better choice for work, study and collaboration.