Global rankings have become an international phenomenon since 2003, but academic quality rankings have their origins much earlier. According to Webster, the man who ‘invented’ rankings was James McKeen Cattell; his 1910 version of American Men of Science in 1910 ‘showed the “scientific strength” of leading universities using the research reputation of their faculty members’ (Webster, 1986, pp. 14, 107–119). Cattell weighed the prominence of scientists employed and the ratio of ‘starred’ scientists to total faculty in order to arrive at a final score. Cattell’s ranking marked an important watershed, although the real defining historical turning point came in 1959 when rankings emphasizing reputation factors began to dominate over those focused on ‘academic origins’. Early rankings often used several ‘dimensions of quality’, inter alia, faculty expertise, graduate success in later life and academic resources, such as faculty/student ratio or volumes in the library. Research was included almost from the beginning because ‘many universities already considered research their most important, or at least one of their most important, functions’ (Webster, 1986, p. 17).


International Student Journal Impact Factor Global Ranking Ranking Measure National Ranking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Ellen Hazelkorn 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Hazelkorn
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin Institute of TechnologyIreland

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