Six Australian universities have secured a place in a the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) top 100, placing it third behind only the US and Britain.
Melbourne again topped the list among local institutions rising this year to 40. The University of Queensland jumped to 55 this year up from 77 in 2015, followed by Australian National University (78). The University of Western Australia fell from 87 in 2015 to 96 this year, Monash University debuted on the list at 79 while Sydney University was back on the list (82) for the first time since 2013.
In all 23 of Australia’s 39 universities made the top 500 of the ARWU.
Tony Sheil, an expert in university rankings from Griffith University told The Australian, the performance put Australia fifth over all in the number of universities ranked in the top 500 — up from 19 in 2014.
“From having just 13 universities listed on the inaugural ARWU rankings in 2003 to 23 in the latest list, Australia is one of the success stories of international higher education,” Mr Sheil told the Australian.
“The Australian higher education system is built around a fine balance of scale and excellence — allowing universities, from Melbourne at 40th to Western Sydney and RMIT University as the latest top 500 debutants, to grow their critical mass and be rewarded for their substantial self-investment in research.”
University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the listing reflected UQ’s decades of hard work and focus on research excellence.
“This speaks volumes about the very high quality of our researchers and alumni,” Professor Høj said. “It’s so heartening to receive independent, objective confirmation of the effectiveness of UQ’s targeted strategies to hold and improve our place among the world’s best universities.
“Against especially strong and increasing global competition, it’s reaffirming that six Australian universities made it in to the ARWU top 100 this year, compared to four last year.
Professor Høj said rankings systems such as ARWU were vitally important in attracting international students, who often factored in global standing when choosing a university.
The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University has published the ARWU annually since 2003, using objective indicators including:
• number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields medals
• number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Scientific
• number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science
• number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index
• per capita performance with respect to the size of an institution.