U of U Continues to Climb in World Ranking Based on Internet Footprint

Feb. 24, 2011- With its strong Internet footprint and constant improvements to the accessibility of online information, the University of Utah (U of U) ranked 46th in the world in the latest Webometrics ranking just released. Authors of the “Ranking of World Universities” say their analysis is based on a school’s Web presence and performance as well as its international visibility and impact. This year’s result is an improvement of two spots over the year before.

The Webometrics 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 organization’s Web site says “Web indicators are very useful for ranking purposes as they are not based on number of visits or page design but on the global performance and visibility of the universities.”

CSIC also compared universities in the United States and Canada against each other for Web presence. In that ranking, the University of Utah came in 35th among the 100 schools ranked in North America, an increase of nine places in just one year. It is the only Utah university to make the top 50.

The new edition of the ranking includes 12,000 higher education institutions worldwide.

“In this edition a new indicator has been applied for reflecting more accurately the academic impact of the Web contents,” says Isidro F. Aguillo, head of the Cybermetrics Lab. “The goal is to provide a complete overview of the academia worldwide, without using subjective criteria or excluding universities solely by technical reasons and guaranteeing no economical or political interests affect the scores.”

Paula Millington, director of media solutions in University Information Technology, says she is encouraged that the U of U continues to climb in the ranking. “Our Web presence is a reflection of our world-class research output and impact. The ranking shows that both the quality and quantity of our research is meaningful on the world’s stage,” says Millington. “It’s a high priority for us to continue to improve our Web portals and digital access to scholarly advancements. ”

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”) obtained from Yahoo Search. Rich files, such as Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc) and Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt), were selected for evaluation of their relevance to academic and publication activities. Scholarship represents papers, reports and other academic items provided by Google Scholar.

The creators of the Webometrics ranking say, “we intend to motivate both institutions and scholars to have a Web presence that reflect(s) accurately their activities. 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 of the volume and quality of their electronic publications.”

For more information about the Webometrics “Ranking of World Universities” go to http://www.webometrics.info.

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