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Research Handbook on University Rankings
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Research Handbook on University Rankings

Theory, Methodology, Influence and Impact

9781788974974 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Ellen Hazelkorn, Partner, BH Associates, Professor Emerita, Technological University Dublin, Ireland and Joint Editor, Policy Reviews in Higher Education and Georgiana Mihut, Assistant Professor, Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick, UK
Publication Date: 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78897 497 4 Extent: 584 pp
Gathering unique and thoughtful contributions from leading international scholars, this timely Research Handbook offers diverse perspectives on university rankings twenty years after the first global rankings emerged. It presents an in-depth analysis that reflects the current state of research on rankings, their influence and impact.

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Critical Acclaim
Contributors
Contents
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Gathering unique and thoughtful contributions from leading international scholars, this timely Research Handbook offers diverse perspectives on university rankings twenty years after the first global rankings emerged. It presents an in-depth analysis that reflects the current state of research on rankings, their influence and impact.

The Research Handbook explores how rankings and their impacts can be theorized and conceptualized, as well as the methodological tensions that rankings generate. It further examines how rankings have affected institutional behaviours and interacted with the quality agenda in higher education, examining what rankings mean for equity, teaching and learning, and students. Chapters also analyse how rankings interact with and accentuate the geopolitics of higher education, looking ahead to emergent policy issues and responses to rankings.

Higher education researchers, policy and decision makers as well as rankings followers will find the critical insights into globalisation and geopolitics, quality assurance, international comparability and assessment, and student outcomes and learning in this Research Handbook interesting. It will also be a useful read for higher education and university leaders and managers wanting a better understanding of rankings and their usefulness and challenges.
Critical Acclaim
‘The Research Handbook on University Rankings contains informative studies introducing theoretical frameworks, methodological tensions, influences and impacts that university global rankings have brought into higher education systems and individual institutions in the context of globalization and internationalization. Looking back over 20 years, the monograph consisting 37 chapters in six themes extensively analyses related ranking issues in the past as well as explores the new modes and imaginaries for future development.’
– Angela Yung Chi Hou, International Journal of Chinese Education

‘The Research Handbook on University Rankings offers a highly useful and wide-ranging look at the influential role of global rankings, including a frank assessment of the good, the bad and the ugly. National case studies in particular give the reader an understanding of the global drive for metrics and standardized evaluations of university performance, and the actual impact on funding, policies and the behaviors of individual institutions. What is the future of the proliferation of ranking enterprises? The chapters seem to indicate that they will live on as powerful consumer guides for prospective students in the post-COVID era of global talent mobility, but perhaps are waning as an instigator of government policies.’
– John Aubrey Douglass, University of California, Berkeley, US

‘An enlightening Handbook on everything you always wanted to know about rankings but could not find an answer to: highly reflexive contributions on rankings themselves; challenging analysis of their impact on globalizing higher education and science and on national and institutional policies in different country settings; diving into the business of rankers and publishers; case studies of universities seeking for improved ranks. . . All facets of rankings are scrutinized.’
– Christine Musselin, CNRS and Sciences Po, France

‘With 20 major university rankings, and counting, we badly need better to understand this trend which nearly everyone simultaneously loves and hates. This Research Handbook is a major contribution to that understanding, putting rankings for the first time in their proper context, theoretically and in terms of policy.’
– Peter Scott, UCL Institute of Education, UK

‘If you read only one book about the “whys”, the “hows” and the “impacts” of higher education rankings, this volume is it. Taking both a historical and an international perspective on this global phenomenon, this collection of chapters offers expert views on the changes rankings have brought to the world of higher education locally, globally and in terms of each university mission, as well as an analysis of the methodological and political issues rankings raise. A comprehensive reflection on rankings – now a permanent fixture in the higher education policy landscape – well worth reading.’
– Eva Egron-Polak, Former Secretary General, Senior Fellow, International Association of Universities
Contributors
Contributors: Philip G. Altbach, Michael Bastedo, Yoran Beldengrün, Paola Belingheri, Andrés Bernasconi, Gerardo L. Blanco, Brigida Blasi, Andrea Bonaccorsi, Jelena Brankovic, James D. Breslin, Julia Brickfield, Angel Calderon, Brendan Cantwell, Leslie Chan, George Chen, Hamish Coates, Ruggero Cortini, Hans De Wit, Annamaria Donnarumma, Nicolau Duran, Tero Erkkilä, Kyle T. Fassett, Xavi Gimenez, Ana Godonoga, Ellen Hazelkorn, Hans Peter Hertig, Matthias Heuser, Richard Holmes, Camille Kandiko Howson, Xi Hong, Tara K. Ising, Koen Jonkers, Jens Jungblut, Robert Kelchen, Jeongeun Kim, Yuyang Kang, Marcelo Knobel, Miguel Antonio Lim, Lu Liu, Shuiyun Liu, William Yat Wai Lo, William Locke, Alma Maldonado-Maldonado, Simon Marginson, Francesco Massucci, Alexander C. Mccormick, Georgiana Mihut, Ka Ho Mok, Pat O’connor, Enrique Orduña-Malea, Ossi Piironen, Carmen Perez-Esparrells, Laura W. Perna, Sabine Plaud, Leopold Ringel, Louis M. Rocconi, Sandra Romagnosi, Guillem Rull, Laura E. Rumbley, Jamil Salmi, Cláudia S. Sarrico, Bjørn Stensaker, Sebastian Stride, Andrée Sursock, Damtew Teferra, Robert Tijssen, Dirk Van Damme, Sonia Veiga, Christian Ivan Cortes Velasco, Martina Vukasovic, Tobias Werron, Jeremy Wright-Kim, Akiyoshi Yonezawa, Thomas Zacharewicz, John Zilvinskis
Contents
Contents:

Foreword: reflections on rankings xxiii
Philip G. Altbach

1 Introduction: putting rankings in context ‒ looking back, looking forward 1
Ellen Hazelkorn and Georgiana Mihut

PART I CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL RANKINGS
2 The reality underneath the rankings: trends in global science 19
Simon Marginson
3 How do we know what we know? Empirical methodologies for
studying college rankings 38
Jeongeun Kim and Michael Bastedo
4 Rankings and global knowledge governance 54
Tero Erkkilä and Ossi Piironen
5 Theorizing university rankings by comparison: systematic and historical
analogies with arts and sports 67
Jelena Brankovic, Leopold Ringel and Tobias Werron
6 Researching and understanding the influence of rankings on higher
education institutions: logics, methodologies and conceptualisations 80
William Locke
7 Benchmarking and zeitgeist: university ranking in post-turbo-globalized
neoliberalism (Post-TGNL) 93
Hans Peter Hertig

PART II METHODOLOGICAL TENSIONS
8 Multidimensional taxonomy of university rankings 106
Enrique Orduña-Malea and Carmen Perez-Esparrells
9 What do global rankings try to measure? Global university ranking
methodologies since 2003 127
Richard Holmes
10 Rankings and internationalization: an unfortunate alliance 137
Gerardo L. Blanco, Laura E. Rumbley and Hans de Wit
11 Gender equality: a neglected or rhetorical dimension of rankings in
higher education? 150
Pat O’Connor
12 University rankings and the third mission of higher education 163
Robert Kelchen
13 How future-proof are world university rankings? The case of the Most
Innovative Universities ranking 171
Robert Tijssen

PART III INSTITUTIONAL BEHAVIOUR AND THE QUALITY AGENDA
14 Quality assurance and rankings: some European lessons 185
Andrée Sursock
15 Higher education system rankings and benchmarking 197
Cláudia S. Sarrico and Ana Godonoga
16 Institutional responses to university rankings: a tale of adaptation and
cognitive framing 210
Andrea Bonaccorsi, Paola Belingheri, Brigida Blasi and Sandra Romagnosi
17 Reimaging university identities through rankings in Japan: the
transformation of national policies and university behaviours in the
broader East Asian context 231
Akiyoshi Yonezawa
18 Striving for excellence in the age of rankings: insights from two leading
research universities in Latin America 247
Andrés Bernasconi and Marcelo Knobel
19 Conflating perception and purpose: the University of Louisville and the
prominence challenge 262
Tara K. Ising and James D. Breslin
20 Are university rankings still important? Perspectives from Greater China 278
William Yat Wai Lo and Shuiyun Liu

PART IV EQUITY, TEACHING AND STUDENT CHOICE
21 The implications of rankings for equity in higher education 295
Laura W. Perna, Jeremy Wright-Kim and Julia Brickfield
22 University rankings and students’ information needs: what is the relation? 307
Jens Jungblut, Bjørn Stensaker and Martina Vukasovic
23 Does teaching count? The relationship between US News & World
Report faculty resource measures and students’ experiences with faculty 320
John Zilvinskis, Louis M. Rocconi and Alexander C. McCormick
24 Teaching and learning in university rankings: a critical review and
reassessment 329
Kyle T. Fassett and Alexander C. McCormick
25 Learning gain in excellence frameworks and rankings 340
Camille Kandiko Howson

PART V (GEO)POLITICS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
26 Ideas for theorizing the geopolitics of higher education in the global
rankings era 354
Brendan Cantwell
27 A critical review of the history, achievements and impacts of China’s
quest for world-class university status 366
Ka Ho Mok and Yuyang Kang
28 The geopolitics of university rankings: not all regions and university
networks stand equal 382
Angel Calderon
29 The treacherous adventure of ranking African universities 399
Damtew Teferra
30 Reputational risk rating and the commercialisation of higher education 412
Hamish Coates, Lu Liu and Xi Hong
31 University rankings and governance by metrics and algorithms 424
George Chen and Leslie Chan
32 The business of university rankings: the case of Times Higher Education 442
Miguel Antonio Lim

PART VI POLICY ISSUES AND RESPONSES
33 Do rankings promote academic excellence? World-class universities in
perspective 453
Jamil Salmi
34 Why research matters: Latin America facing world-class universities
and rankings 471
Alma Maldonado-Maldonado and Christian Ivan Cortes Velasco
35 Football lessons for universities or how to go beyond ranking 484
Sebastian Stride, Yoran Beldengrün, Ruggero Cortini, Annamaria
Donnarumma, Nicolau Duran, Xavi Gimenez, Matthias Heuser, Francesco
Massucci, Sabine Plaud, Guillem Rull and Sonia Veiga
36 Are global rankings compatible with higher education policy? 507
Thomas Zacharewicz, Koen Jonkers and Ellen Hazelkorn
37 Global rankings and the dynamics of global convergence and local
divergence in higher education 522
Dirk Van Damme

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