UH rises to 68th in the Academic Rankings of World Universities

The new ranking improves on last year’s result by five places.

flag In addition to UH, five other Finnish educational institutions made the list of the world’s 500 best universities: the University of Oulu, the University of Turku, the Helsinki University of Technology, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of Kuopio.

On the list of European universities, the University of Helsinki rose three places to number 19. Cambridge was selected as Europe’s highest-ranked university.

For the sixth year running, the TOP 500 list was the work of Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University. Comparison criteria included, among others, the number of scientific prizes awarded to researchers, the frequency that research carried out at each university was cited in other research papers, and the amount of internationally published academic articles.

Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson was pleased with the university’s success. The university’s climb up the list was not, however, unexpected.

“This comes as no surprise,” says Wilhelmsson. “The university’s development has clearly been moving upwards. We should remember, however, that very little separates the universities in the top 100.”

The University of Helsinki’s strength was the frequency that its research results were cited in other scientific publications. The smallest amount of points was given to the criteria that measured the amount of scientific prizes awarded to researchers and alumni.

Wilhelmsson points out that, for example, previous Nobel prize winners often push the rankings of the traditional universities up the list. A better description of a university’s current situation includes the frequency of its cited research. When measured by that criteria, the University of Helsinki is ranked among Europe’s top ten.

The top universities are concentrated geographically. Of the top 100 universities, 58 are located in North and Latin America, 34 in Europe and 8 in Asia. The highest ranking African university can be found only from the top 300. The top three remained the same as last year: Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley.

“These rankings are, however, partly misleading,” explains Wilhelmsson, “because the criteria favours English-speaking universities. At these universities, international mobility as well as the possibilities to have research cited is on a different level than at other universities. Additionally, American universities are superior due to their strong funding and international operations.”

“In the future, China will certainly come on strong,” Wilhelmsson predicts, “as a significant amount of resources are being invested in the top universities there.”

Read more: Academic Ranking of World Universities 2008

Text: Tapani Sainio
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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