This year’s QS analysis of Asia’s top universities looks similar to the 2015 edition, especially in the topmost positions. But there are a number of key changes to the indicators we use and the weights we assign to them.
One major change is to increase the weight given to our survey of employer opinion from last year’s 10 per cent to 20 per cent now. Because our academic survey is still weighted at 30 per cent, this means that the two surveys account between them for half of each university’s possible score. This increased emphasis on employer opinion is consistent with growing interest in graduate employability around the world, including in Asia.
In addition, we have introduced a new measure into the Asian rankings this year, one that is already used in our other regional rankings around the world. This is the percentage of academic staff with a PhD, weighted at 5 per cent in this year’s ranking.
The aim here is to recognise universities that are enhancing staff quality, and improving their ability to perform excellent teaching and research. This measure would not work in our World University Rankings. Its use there would favour universities in nations such as the US, the UK and Australia where a doctorate is a basic entry-level qualification for academic life.
As the table shows, these changes have necessitated small adjustments to the weightings applied to our other indicators. In particular, we have slightly reduced the weighting attributed to paper production and citations, although these still account between them for 20 per cent of each institution’s possible score.
Finally on methodology, this Asian University Ranking is the first to make use of normalisation in its calculation of citations. This means that we equalise out the effects of the very different publishing and citation cultures of different disciplines. This change, pioneered in the 2015/2016 World University Rankings, reduces the big advantage afforded to science and medicine-intensive universities when normalisation is not applied.
This ranking reiterates the advantages of being a university in an English-speaking setting with global connections. The top four institutions are in Hong Kong and Singapore. The biggest change in the upper reaches is the rise of Tsinghua University in Beijing from 11 to 5, passing Peking University in the process.
Indicator Weight Changes
Academic Reputation: Remains at 30%
Employer Reputation: Was 10%, now 20.0%
Faculty Student: Was 20.0%, now 15.0%
Staff with PhD: Was 0.0%, now 5.0%
International Faculty: Remains at 2.5%
International Students: Remains at 2.5%
Inbound Exchange: Remains at 2.5%
Outbound Exchange: Remains at 2.5%
Papers per Faculty: Was 15%, now 10.0%
Citations per Paper: Was 15.0%, now 10.0%
Written by Martin Ince
Convenor of the QS Advisory Board