Global University Rankings and their Impact

Andrejs Rauhvargers, Apr 12, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Over the years I have found the deference people show to institutions like Harvard, MIT and Standford to be quite remarkable. Yes, the people who work there are smart, but they are not uniquely smart, and they are as often more important for their biases (such as, for example, a pro-commercial affiliation) than for their academics or teaching. This report on university rankings points to instances of this phenomenon. "It is worth noting that the high ranking positions achieved by a small group of universities are often self-perpetuating. The more intensive use of reputation indicators and reputation rankings means that the chances of maintaining a high position in the rankings will only grow for universities already near the top (p.18) ... it should be borne in mind that the indicators reflect the same biases and flaws as the data used to prepare them. (p.26)" Via Inside Higher Ed.

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