THE Times Higher Education (泰晤士高等教育) magazine has defended its world reputation rankings that saw Hong Kong’s standing among the world’s 100 most prestigious universities taking a knock.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU, 香港大學) dropped to the 51-60 band, from 43rd last year; while Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 香港科技大學) dropped from 51-60 to 71-80. Chinese University of Hong Kong (香港中文大學) was out of the top 100, compared to 81-90 last year.
The ranking asked 10,507 scholars from 142 countries to fill out the academic survey that covered five areas: teaching (30 percent), research (30), citations (30), industry income (2.5) and international outlook (7.5).
The survey was conducted between November 2014 and January this year, at a time when global attention was focused on the 79-day Occupy Central (佔領中環 ) movement in Hong Kong, which ran from September to December last year.
Stephanie Weekes, for The Times Higher Education rankings, said, “We can only speculate as to why fewer scholars are naming Hong Kong’s universities as being among the best in the world for teaching and research this year.
HKU and HKUST are both outstanding institutions with strong global status.
“However, the world’s leading universities are usually considered to be bastions of free speech and institutional autonomy, and it could therefore be suggested that the worldwide attention brought to Hong Kong during these events has perhaps influenced people’s views.”
In this year’s ranking, the US has 43 institutions in the top 100 and the UK has 12, while Japan, Hong Kong, China and Singapore each have two.
Harvard University (哈佛大學) continued to top the list with an overall score of 100. University of Cambridge (劍橋大學) ranked second (84.3) and University of Oxford (牛津大學 ) third (80.4).
According to the magazine, the top 100 universities by reputation are listed, but only the top 50 were ranked because the differentials between institutions after that point become very narrow.
The reputation ranking, in its fifth year, is a spin-off of the annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
(The Standard, Kenneth Lau, 13 March, 2015)