August 7, 2008-A university’s presence on the World Wide Web can show its contribution to scientific research and other scholarship, and that can be compared to the internet footprint of other schools to develop an overall ranking. That’s the method used by the Webometric Ranking of World Universities to select institutions of higher education to be on its list.
In the most recent ranking, the University of Utah (The U) ranked 56th out of 4,000 schools listed from around the world. Ranking 48th, the U is among the top 50 schools in North America. It is the only Utah university to make the top 100. Webometrics says analyzing a school’s internet activity is a good way to judge its contribution to the academic community.
The ranking is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.
“The U was one of the pioneers of the internet,” said Paula Millington, director of media solutions in the Office of Information Technology at the U. “Our faculty’s research and discovery is all over the Web and accessed by thousands of people everyday, as this well deserved ranking shows.”
The methodology used to determine how schools are ranked by Webometrics is scientific and based on four factors: size, visibility, rich files, and scholarship. Size is the number of pages recovered from four search engines: Google, Yahoo, Live Search, and Exalead. Visibility is determined by the total number of unique external links received (“inlinks”) by a site that can be obtained from Yahoo Search, Live Search, and Exalead. Rich files, such as Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc) and Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt), were chosen after evaluation of their relevance to academic and publication activities. Scholarship is based on the number of papers and citations for each academic domain. Provided by Google Scholar, the results from the scholarship database represent papers, reports and other academic items.
The creators of the rankings say, “As other rankings focus only on a few relevant aspects, especially research results, a Web indicator-based ranking reflects better the whole picture, as many other activities of professors and researchers are shown by their Web presence.”
For more information about the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities go to http://www.webometrics.info/index.html.