Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) has just released their rankings for 2008. Compared to the THE-QS rankings, public response, especially in Asia and Australia, has been slight. This is largely because ascent and descent within the Shanghai index is minimal, a tribute to their reliability. In contrast, the THE-QS rankings, with their changes in methodology and frequent errors, arouse almost as much interest as a country's performance in the Olympics.
Still, it is instructive to check how well various universities do on the different components of the Shanghai rankings.
The current top ten are as follows:
The Shanghai index includes two categories based on Nobel prizes and Fields medals. These measure the quality of research that might have been produced decades ago. Looking at the other criteria gives a rather different picture of current research.
It is interesting to see what happens to these ten if we rank them according to SJTU's PUB category, the total number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) in 2007. The SSCI gets a double weighting.Harvard remains at number 1
Stanford goes down to number 8
Berkeley goes down to 11
Cambridge goes down to 23
MIT is down at 34
Caltech tumbles to 86
Columbia is down just a bit at 10
Princeton crashes to 120
Chicago falls to 72
Oxford goes down to 18
If this category represents current research output then it looks as though some American universities and Oxbridge have entered a period of decline. Of course, Caltech and MIT may suffer from the PUB category including social science research but would that explain why Princeton and Chicago are now apparently producing a relatively small amount of research?
The top ten for PUB is
4. University of Michigan
6. University of Washington