Rankings watch – W100 universities still gaining in reputation stakes

Posted on Jun 16, 2020

Rankings Watch


Reputation remains a key driver of university performance, and those universities strongly focused on raising global profile continue to advance, according to the latest QS Rankings published on 10 June.

64% of members of the W100 Reputation Network, the only grouping of leading global universities focused on growing profile, improved their academic reputation scores in the 2021 QS Rankings. A further 14% were within 0.1% point of their score for academic reputation in the previous year’s league table.

The overall league table showed similar dynamics to the last few years with Asian universities making gains, and US and UK universities as a whole declining.

More than half W100 member universities gained positions in the overall table, but as with the previous year, it is striking that academic reputation scores often outpaced wider institutional performance.

Looking at performance across the globe:

> Canadian universities performed particularly well for academic reputation, with the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia and McMaster University all improving their scores.

> Irish universities also saw advances, with both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin substantially increasing academic reputation scores.

> A number of Dutch universities saw their focus on reputation paying off, with Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht all improving their scores.

> Many UK universities improved their reputation scores, in some cases in contrast to overall performance in the QS Rankings, with several W100 members falling down the table as a whole – reflecting a consistent theme of the past few years.

>Notably, Asian universities advanced in the overall league table, but W100 members from the continent all saw slight declines in academic reputation scores.

The QS Rankings largely reflected data from the period before the pandemic, so will form a useful benchmark against which reputation issues, in particular, can be measured next year. 

Also notable was the amount of discussion around the launch of the QS rankings to reflect the growing importance of assessing wider measures of impact focused around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Clearly the THE Impact Rankings are living up to their name.

In other rankings news, the THE Asia Rankings, also published in June, saw more gains for Chinese universities, with Perking University edging up to second, behind Tsinghua. W100 members National University of Singapore and Korea University were both ranked in the top 20.

The next launch will the THE Young Universities Rankings, published on 24 June.