The Observatory will review the conduct of "academic ranking" and expressions of "academic excellence" for the benefit of higher education, its stake-holders and the general public. This objective will be achieved by way of:
improving the standards, theory and practice in line with recommendations formulated in the Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions
initiating research and training related to ranking excellence;
analyzing the impact of ranking on access, recruitment trends and practices;
analyzing the role of ranking on institutional behavior;
enhancing public awareness and understanding of academic work.
The Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University, has developed a new ranking system entirely based on its own bibliometric indicators. This web-publication is the first in a series of rankings. The work focuses on all universities worldwide with more than 700 Web of Science indexed publications per year. This implies that the about 1000 largest (in terms of number of publications) universities in the world are covered, and that our bibliometric analysis is based on the scientific output of many hundreds of active researchers in each of these universities.