The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, also known as Ranking Web of World Universities is the largest classification of higher educations institutions, covering more than 17,000 universities worldwide. The aim of the Ranking is to improve the presence of the academic and research institutions on the Web and to promote the open access publication of scientific results. The ranking started in 2004 and is based on a combined indicator that takes into account both the volume of the Web contents (number of web pages and files) and the visibility and impact of this web publications according to the number of external inlinks (site citations) they received. The ranking is updated every January and July, providing Web indicators for more than 6,000 universities worldwide. The approach takes into account the wide range of scientific activities represented in the academic websites, frequently overlooked by the bibliometric indicators. There are similarly constructed web rankings for research centers, hospitals, business schools and repositories.
Central hypothesis is that web presence is a reliable indicator of the global performance and prestige of the universities. Although the Web is universally recognized as the one of the most relevant tools for scholarly communication, it is still very rare these indicators are used for the evaluation of the scientific research and the academic performance of universities
A few years ago many web sites of even very important institutions were small, with little relevant information and no added value. Today the Top universities are publishing millions of pages produced by dozens of departments and services, hundreds of research teams and thousands of scholars. Strong web presence informs of a wide variety of factors that are clearly correlated with the global quality of the institution: Widespread availability of computer resources available, global internet literacy, policies promoting democracy and freedom of speech, competition for international visibility or support of open access initiatives, among others.
Web publication is frequently questioned about quality of the contents, not taking into account that besides research results published in prestigious journals, the same authors develop a wide range of activities reflected on the web pages. Teaching material, raw data, drafts, slides, software, bibliographic or links lists are also relevant and inform of the commitment of the professor to their students. The structure, composition and all kind of administrative information provided by the institution itself is valuable and again when is made available through the web speaks of the high academic level of the university.
Granting access to and promoting web publication among the faculty members means other colleagues know about the scientific results produced, more candidate students know about the university, the companies can find suitable partners for industrial projects, and organizations could easily access to experts contact data.
Most of the institutions on the distribution tail of the Rankings only publish a few dozens or hundreds of pages, probable not amounting more than several Megabytes of space in the hard disk of the web server. This output is similar to those provided by teenagers at a cost similar to their weekly stipend. Even in most of the developing countries this human and economic effort is affordable. If you consider most of the Web information is currently recovered through search engines it is possible that data of an even obscure institution of a remote corner of the world can be easily accessed. Having a web presence is easy and cheap and the potential audience is in the order of millions.
Webometric indicators are provided to show the commitment of the institutions to Web publication. If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases in the volume and quality of their electronic publications.
There are pages for several regional Rankings:
- Universities. The main worldwide list of 6000 universities build from a catalogue of over 17000 institutions is also offered as regional lists:
The distribution of the Universities by region (July 2009) is as follows:
|Region||Top 100||Top 200||Top 500||Top 1000||Total|
- Research Institutes. Top 2000 from a catalogue of over 7000 are published
2007 | 2008 | 2009
|1||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||mit.edu||1||1||3||4|
|4||Pennsylvania State University||psu.edu||7||7||7||5|
|5||University of California, Berkeley||berkeley.edu||2||3||8||27|
|6||University of Michigan||umich.edu||12||6||14||11|
|7||University of Wisconsin–Madison||wisc.edu||5||10||11||27|
|8||University of Minnesota||umn.edu||6||15||1||22|
|9||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||uiuc.edu||9||9||6||35|
|11||University of Texas at Austin||utexas.edu||17||8||12||38|
|12||University of Washington||washington.edu||8||12||5||69|
|13||University of Pennsylvania||upenn.edu||21||11||53||17|
|15||University of Chicago||uchicago.edu||34||14||57||3|
|16||Texas A&M University||tamu.edu||23||33||10||20|
|17||University of California, Los Angeles||ucla.edu||16||20||22||74|
|18||University of Arizona||arizona.edu||10||28||26||58|
|19||University of Maryland, College Park||umd.edu||26||32||16||42|
|21||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||vt.edu||22||37||44||31|
|22||University of Florida||ufl.edu||15||34||17||85|
|23||Michigan State University||msu.edu||44||24||18||82|
|25||University of Toronto||utoronto.ca||38||35||29||54|
|26||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||unc.edu||20||23||20||145|
|27||University of Cambridge||cam.ac.uk||11||26||74||96|
|30||Georgia Institute of Technology||gatech.edu||37||58||19||23|
|31||California Institute of Technology||caltech.edu||79||29||40||44|
|32||University of California, San Diego||ucsd.edu||18||43||28||98|
|33||New York University||nyu.edu||75||16||34||115|
|34||University of Pittsburgh||pitt.edu||73||38||32||62|
|35||University of Virginia||virginia.edu||27||18||51||172|
|37||University of Oxford||ox.ac.uk||50||36||49||104|
|38||Swiss Federal Institute of Technology||ethz.ch||14||67||43||55|
|39||University of Southern California||usc.edu||56||45||39||77|
|40||University of British Columbia||ubc.ca||55||42||27||105|
|42||Johns Hopkins University||jhu.edu||89||59||72||8|
|43||University of Helsinki||helsinki.fi||29||84||33||56|
|44||University of California, Davis||ucdavis.edu||36||57||38||135|
|45||North Carolina State University||ncsu.edu||42||78||25||76|
|46||Washington University in St. Louis||wustl.edu||45||73||41||75|
|47||Australian National University||anu.edu.au||72||56||92||52|
|48||University of Utah||utah.edu||13||65||79||137|
|49||University of Colorado||colorado.edu||84||49||31||160|
|50||University of Oslo||uio.no||74||60||30||141|
The Webometrics Ranking is produced by the Cybermetrics Lab, a unit of the Spanish National Research Council(CSIC), the main public research body in Spain. The Lab acts as an Observatory of the Science and Technology on the Web. Isidro F. Aguillo, HonPhD is the head of the Laboratory and the editor-in-chief of the Rankings.