Where to go to study: ranking of universities based on link ranking


    We have already talked about the evolution of website ranking , the reasons and history of the emergence of PR, TC, Browserank. Having the original meaning of improving search quality, this phenomenon has gained commercial value over time. This is how an entire digital industry has developed. From our previous post, you know that for any ranking, the origins begin in science. Since the volume of scientific data is also texts and citations, it is not surprising that science has proposed such tools for evaluating its own effectiveness as scientometrics, bibliometrics, and webometrics. We would like to talk about the latter today, since it ranks scientific and educational institutions according to principles similar to PR. Enjoy reading!

    Web Metrics Concept

    To avoid confusion, we immediately indicate the differences in terms. It is necessary to distinguish, for example, informatics and infometrics (you can learn more from the links at the end of the post), as well as the topic of our today's text itself, webometrics itself:

    Webometrics (English webometrics) as a section of informatics devoted to the study of quantitative aspects of the design and use of information resources , structures and technologies for the World Wide Web.

    Webometrics ( Webometrix.info ) - site of a project dedicated to ranking scientific and educational institutions.

    Web metrics as a project

    The project is implemented by the Cybermetrics Lab research group formed by the Spanish National Research Institute, the largest in Spain and the third largest in Europe.

    The leader of the group is Isidro Aguillo - if you look at his profile on the Google Academy, you can see a citation index and other scientific indices for this scientist using a living example:

    The main directions of the research group's work are analysis of academic activity on world and regional Internet resources, assessment of the scale of digital curtain (digital divide) between high-level North American and European universities, as well as the development of accounting methods for published online archival documents ov.

    Since 2004, the project annually publishes a ranking of world universities based on a set of factors that are calculated according to very similar PR models and other ranking mechanisms in the network. The main data for analysis is taken from the data present on the educational institution in the worldwide network.

    Other ratings

    The project also keeps track of status for other institutions:

    This is not the only index, there are others, for example, the magazines US News & World Report (USA) and The Times Higher Education , QS companies (Great Britain), Shanghai ranking - but they are tied either directly to the English language, or only to the elite segment of education , while Webometrics analyzes about 20 thousand universities around the world.

    Webometrics Methodology

    The rating takes into account four parameters, each of which has its own weight. The first is the popularity of the site (the number of links to it from the outside), this is the most important parameter, its weight in the overall rating is 50 percent. The three remaining indicators with a total weight of 50 percent (one third for each) characterize the size of the site (number of pages), openness (number of files), and academic quality (publications calculated using a special tool).

    The number of links to a site matters and is measured using Majestic-SEO, a simple link analyzer that collects them primarily from Yahoo and Google.

    According to Webometrics methodology, the number of publications index consists of data from two Internet tools: Scimago SIR, which collects publications in scientific journals, and Google Scholar (Russian-language version - Google Academy). Of course, due to the fact that Scimago SIR is focused on English-language bibliography, this indicator will be a “failure” for many universities, and in addition it will vary greatly for, for example, computer sciences and applied linguistics - the proportion of publications in English in the first case may reach up to 80-90%, while in the second case it can be very insignificant, since the bulk of publications can be in other languages.

    Will there be SEO services for the scientific community?

    The above drawback of the method for evaluating texts is not the only drawback of a system that is constantly criticized because it can directly affect the success of the indicators of scientists who would like to pursue a career and who are forced to find a balance between scientific activity itself and the need to calculate its steps and actions online.

    Who knows if this will lead to the creation of “scientific” SEO in the future? Of course not. Firstly, university assessment tools are either used for more convenient data collection and processing, or for an approximate risk assessment when considering educational opportunities abroad.

    In the first case, initially the ratings based on the citation index were generally redesigned so that the library of interest could easily be found in the library. In the second case, the same QS rating is compiled by a company that provides training services abroad, which means that it is not aimed at the scientific community as such, but at education as an industry.

    For the time being, universities of developing countries are especially interested in webometrics in search of justifications for their participation in the global scientific community - as one of the few available tools for evaluating such a university by representatives of this world community.

    And finally, in foreign universities, as in foreign Internet, “cheating” carries a danger of reputation risks that will not be paid off by any external successes in the long term of a scientific career, which means they have avoided any rating cheating tools in the scientific community and will be avoided in the future.

    More on this and related topics:

    Wikipedia on webometrics
    Project methodology Webometrics regarding university assessment

    Other indices:
    Citation index of scientific articles
    Hirsch index , citation coefficient, h-index
    g-index , bibliometric index
    i-index , publication activity index of scientific organization
    IF, Impact factor, importance indicator scientific journal
    RSCI , Russian Science Citation Index

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    In this connection, it would be interesting to know your opinion: did you ever be guided by the rating when choosing a university? We would be interested to know what you think about this - in the comments

    • 20.4% Yes 10
    • 57.1% No, because I do not think the rating is a guideline 28
    • 36.7% No, for the first time I hear about this 18

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