A message from the Deputy Dean (Research)

Bronwyn Gillanders

The ARC has announced that the ERA assessment scheduled for 2023 will not go ahead and will be reviewed, however, it’s important to recognise that a number of the international rankings incorporate publications/citations. These rankings may dictate which universities our international students consider for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

There are several international rankings which are highly regarded, all using slightly different methodologies to rank universities. I will focus on two from the Shanghai rankings, one specific to Universities as a whole and the other to subject rankings. Further rankings related to the Times Higher Education are due out in mid October.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked University of Adelaide as 132 in the world in 2022, 8th of the Australian Universities. For researchers including HDR students the key criteria we contribute to are Research outputs – there are two areas, each weighted at 20% of the overall rating that our publications may contribute to. Only papers considered “articles” contribute with number of publications indexed in the Science Citation and Social Science Citation index contributing 20% to this ranking. For the 2022 ranking, papers published from 2017-2021 were included. The other 20% comes from Nature and Science papers with only these journals considered, not their subsidiaries such as Scientific Reports or the Nature discipline specific ones (e.g. Nature Immunology) – again papers need to be articles to be included.

The important point for Nature and Science papers is that the order of author affiliation is important as weightings correspond to author order. For example, a weight of 100% is assigned for corresponding author affiliation, 50% for first author affiliation (second author affiliation if the first author affiliation is the same as corresponding author affiliation), 25% for the next author affiliation, and 10% for other author affiliations. When there are more than one corresponding author addressee, the ARWU consider the first corresponding author address as the corresponding author address and consider other corresponding author addresses as first author address, second author address etc following the order of the author addresses. Thus to maximise the weighting for a Nature or Science paper the highest weighting is achieved if you are the first corresponding order.

The remaining contributors to the ARWU ranking include the quality of education where this is evaluated based on alumni or staff of an institution winning Nobel Prizes or Fields medals (the latter specific to mathematics discipline) (30%). The remaining 30% includes a 20% contribution from Highly Cited Researchers and a per capita academic performance (10%).

There is also the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) where the University of Adelaide has 7 subjects ranked in the top 50 in the world, 6 of which are from the SET Faculty. It is worth checking out the methodology for the GRAS as there are 54 academic subject areas that Web of Science categories are mapped to. Bibliographic data are collected from Web of Science and Incites with data contributing to five different academic indicators – Research Output (only Q1 or top quartile journals count), Research Influence (CNCI – Category Normalised Citation Impact), International Collaboration, Research Quality (Top - please check these for your discipline as you may be surprised by what is included) and International Academic Awards. Different weights are allocated to these indicators.

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