The University of Cape Town (UCT) took the top spot in South Africa and jumped back up into the 201–300 band in the latest ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2019, published on 15 August. This year, the best 1 000 universities are listed.
This latest ranking means UCT now leads, in Africa, in all of the five major world university rankings: Times Higher Education (THE), Quaquarelli Symonds (QS), Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), US News Best Global Universities and ARWU.
UCT has been ranked in ARWU’s 201–300 band since 2003, except for the past two years, 2017 and 2018. This drop to the 301–400 band was mainly a result of UCT having no researchers on the Clarivate Analytics list of highly cited researchers (consisting of the top 1% of cited publications per year and per research area on the Web of Science from 2006 to 2016), which resulted in a zero score for this indicator.
This year, UCT regained the top score in the country in the highly cited researchers indicator, which contributes 20% of the total weighting, with three UCT researchers included in the list. They are professors Eric Bateman, William Bond and Dan Stein.
UCT also achieved the highest scores in South Africa in all the research performance indicators.
Indicators and weightings
The ARWU measures academic and research performance based on six indicators with weightings: the numbers of alumni winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (10%), staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (20%), highly cited researchers (20%), papers published in Nature and Science (20%), and papers indexed in major citation indices (20%), and the per capita academic performance of an institution (10%).
“UCT regained the top score in the country in the highly cited researchers indicator, which contributes 20% of the total weighting, with three UCT researchers included in the list.”
Professor Sue Harrison, UCT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation, said the ranking speaks to the impact and quality of the institution’s cutting-edge research, and the excellent calibre of its academics.
“We are extremely pleased to be leading in Africa.”
Harvard University topped the 2019 ranking list for the 17th year, with Stanford University and the University of Cambridge at number two and three respectively.
Other South African universities in the rankings are the University of the Witwatersrand (201–300 band); Stellenbosch University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Pretoria (401–500 band); North-West University and the University of Johannesburg (601–700 band), and the University of South Africa (801–900 band).
For the rest of the continent, Egypt has four universities on the list, and Nigeria has one (the University of Ibadan – 901-1000). The Egyptian universities are Cairo University (301–400 band); Ain Shams University and Alexandria University (701–800 band); and Mansoura University (801–900 band).
In continental Europe, ETH Zurich, at 19th, continues to be the best-ranked university, with the University of Copenhagen (26th) in second place. The University of Tokyo (25th) and Kyoto University (32nd) retained their leading positions in Asia.
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