University Rankings

Theoretical Basis, Methodology and Impacts on Global Higher Education

  • Jung Cheol Shin
  • Robert K. Toutkoushian
  • Ulrich Teichler

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Jung Cheol Shin, Robert K. Toutkoushian
    Pages 1-16
  3. Organizational Effectiveness, Quality, and Rankings

  4. Methodological Issues of University Rankings

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Bernard Longden
      Pages 73-104
    3. Karen L. Webber
      Pages 105-121
    4. Robert K. Toutkoushian, Karen Webber
      Pages 123-144
    5. Keith Trigwell
      Pages 165-181
  5. Social Impacts of University Rankings

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 267-271

About this book


This ground-breaking and exhaustive analysis of university ranking surveys scrutinizes their theoretical bases, methodological issues, societal impact, and policy implications, providing readers with a deep understanding of these controversial comparators. The authors propose that university rankings are misused by policymakers and institutional leaders alike. They assert that these interested parties overlook the highly problematic internal logic of ranking methodologies even as they obsess over the surveys’ assessment of their status. The result is that institutions suffer from short-termism, realigning their resources to maximize their relative rankings. While rankings are widely used in policy and academic discussions, this is the first book to explore the theoretical and methodological issues of ranking itself. It is a welcome contribution to an often highly charged debate. Far from showing how to manipulate the system, this collection of work by key researchers aims to enlighten interested parties.

 “This is the best book going on university rankings. It provides a reliable, readable, wide-ranging guide for the policy maker, university leader, scholar and would be doctoral student who wants to make sense of the mass of ranking data now available. Shin, Toutkoushian and Teichler tell us how to sort the good, the bad and the ugly in university comparison. A strength of the book, one that guarantees its broad relevance, is the inclusion of contributions from each of the world’s major zones of higher education.”

Simon Marginson, Professor, University of Melbourne

 "This book offers a comprehensive and very timely analysis of a topic of central importance to contemporary higher education: university rankings. Contributors to the book provide a key to the understanding of the theoretical basis and methodological foundations of rankings and their impact on higher education systems and institutions. Illuminating the amazing popularity of rankings, broad and refreshing reflection on the drivers and consequences of rankings are offered.”

Jürgen Enders, Professor, University of Twente




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Editors and affiliations

  • Jung Cheol Shin
    • 1
  • Robert K. Toutkoushian
    • 2
  • Ulrich Teichler
    • 3
  1. 1.Dept. EducationSeoul National UniversitySeoul, Gwanak-guKorea, Republic of (South Korea)
  2. 2.Inst. Higher EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Internationales Zentrum für, Hochschulforschung KasselUniversität KasselKasselGermany

Bibliographic information