Friday, October 14, 2005

Top universities

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are ranked the third, after MIT and UC Berkeley, in the 2005 Times Higher Education Supplement's universities ranking for technology, with a peer score of 86.4. The IIMs too show up in the top 100 list (rank=69). The IITs were placed the fourth in 2004. In their ranking for sciences, the IITs come at 36, a drop of 5 positions from last year.


At 8:38 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

Sorry I couldn't look at the article as they need some password etc.

But which IIT are they considering? Or are they considering all these IITs together as one university?

I am also somewhat skeptical of the criteria these magazines use. usnews seems to rank Stanford above U. Chic. in math, MIT as the top etc. - seems somewhat hard to believe.

What do you think? Thanks.

At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anirudh said...

Never believed in any of these rankings.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous vishnu said...

Does THES elaborate their ranking scheme? That is, what weightage was given to peer score and what weightage to "citations per paper" (what does that mean anyway? Is it the average number of citations of papers written by people in that university?). And how come that column is blank for some universities?

Don't you think it is strange that the IISc does not figure in the science rankings? Oh well, this will make some rank-hungry people at IITs happy, maybe!

As Froginthewell says, are they considering all IITs to be one university, with seven different campuses?

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Ravikiran said...

Any ranking that gives a single ranking to all the IITs put together is nonsensical. It is the clearest indication that they have no idea what they are talking of.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anand said...

Froginthewell -- I think they are considering all the IITs together. Personally, I don't take these rankings seriously. For instance blbliometrics people come up with journal rankings based on "impact factor". The rankings needn't always reflect the prestige of a particular journal. As far as the authors are concerned it's the reputation of the journal that counts more than these rankings. I think the situation is similar in rankings of institutions too.

Anirudh -- Me too.

Vishnu -- I think rankings are based only on the peer score. Citations data were given wherever available.

I can't comment on IISc. But I know that in Mathematics, TIFR is way ahead of any other institute in India, but I haven't seen any ranking reflecting this fact. So yes, rankings do produce "strange" results!

Ravikiran -- I don't get it. Could you explain? Are you saying that a peer score method is faulty?

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Narasimhan said...

Dear Anand

Rather than getting into whether the ranking is right or wrong, a more meaningful discussion would be actually measure the roles of the institutes vis-a-vis society in terms of its contribution towards preparing good teachers. This is as important as publishing good articles in research journals.

The quality of graduate program is important both in terms of the quality of research and the quality of teachers that it can produce. If MIT/Harvard are great it is because of their graduate programs and ability to produce good teachers. Visit any department webpage in US and I am sure that atleast a handful of the faculty are from these institutes. In this regard I feel that in India we have this Ph.D granting places (like TIFR, all CSIR Labs, to some extent IISC, IOP and the likes)that have no teaching component. Please don't get me wrong. It is not a criticism against TIFR (I myself was a VSRP student there which sowed seeds for my scientific career), but I feel that such heavily invested institutes should also train teachers even while it trains researchers. Such insitutes should run some undergraduate programs, like B.Sc and similarly the Social sciences institutes can undertake BA programs.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Vishnu said...

I agree with Narasimhan. As Nandakumar said, ..research without teaching is certainly blind

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anirudh said...


Would you know of any interesting book on prime numbers OR combinatorics? Not for a specialist but for the lay reader.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anand said...

Thanks Narasimhan & Vishnu. My admiration for great researchers is much more than my admiration for great teachers, I guess!

Anirudh -- I used to have a cute book on elementary combinatorics which I got as a present several years ago. I wanted to see the book once more before recommending it, but unfortunately I've misplaced it, I think. I'll e-mail to you if I can manage to have a look at it.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Sunil said...

I guess my admiration for great researchers is also greater than my admiration for great teachers (but my admiration for great teachers is also VERY high).

Any way, these rankings are very subjective. If some one is really interested in carrying out research, he/she just needds to look at the facutly research record.....

At 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anand said...

Any way, these rankings are very subjective. If some one is really interested in carrying out research, he/she just needs to look at the facutly research record.

Of course!

At 7:05 AM, Blogger R.Nandakumar said...

i am honored to be quoted by vishnu there.

as long as we are only talking about universities and their rankings, i rate iits (warts and all) way above iisc. at iisc, teaching is *very often* viewed as a necessary evil rather than a core area; and yes, the iisc library at least used to be totally out of bounds to the interested layman who did not have contacts among the 'gods'(in my book, tifr does not quite qualify as a university).

i dont want to get into the great teachers vs. great researchers comparison, since i guess that is beside the point :)


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