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Academic Ranking of World Universities

The most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities is now out

The University of Minnesota ranks 28th in the World, 21st in the North American region, and 10th among US public universities (which can be compared with the oft-stated goal to be among the top 3).

Minnesota is behind UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSD, Penn, Washington, Madison, UCSF, Michigan, and Illinois. Given four are really part of the UC system (and UCSF was once part of UC Berkeley), we can describe ourselves as the 7th best public university system in US.

These rankings try to apply a systematic way to compare what is largely subjective. What would be useful would be looking at who produces the most Ph.D.s that go on to teaching at universities that produce Ph.Ds, etc., analogous to Google PageRank.

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Just published the second edition of 2008 of the Ranking Web of Universities of the world (http://www.webometrics.info/), confirming that the North American universities (included the Canadians) still maintain an important digital academic divide with the European universities.

In the publication corresponding to July, the Laboratory of Cibermetría, of the Spanish Research Council, the Ranking has increased the world coverage and gives more attention to the developing countries, especially to the Latin-American, African institutions and of those the Arab world.

Among the Top 200 universities nothing less than 123 are North American (106 from USA), whereas the Europeans place only 61 universities. Asia - Pacific has 14 universities in the group and Latin America only two completing this elite.

The best ranked universities are basically the same as the MIT leads the ranking followed by the Universities of Harvard and Stanford. Other important Universities as Berkeley, Cornell or Toronto also appear among the first ones. Nevertheless, Caltech or Johns Hopkins remained slightly relegated due to inadequate web policies.

Among the European universities, Germany, taking into account the number of universities among the best, is the leading country, but the British and Nordic universities are the outstanding ones. The University of Cambridge is the first European university (26), followed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, which advances up to the position 32 and overcomes to the universities of Helsinki and Oxford, in the positions 42 and 47 of the classification, respectively.

To point out some positions, we highlight the Vienna or Prague Universities, but also the absence of French institutions or the delayed position of the Imperial College, again due to practices that penalize its Web position.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the first ranked is the Australian National University (42), followed by University of Tokyo (54) and the National Taiwan University (70). As usual Australian, Japanese, Hong Kong and Singapore universities are well represented, but Chinese ones are closing the gap.

Latin America maintains the two usual leaders, but the UNAM climbs up to the position number 51, a relevant change from previous number 59. The second one is the University of Sao Paulo, in the position number 113.

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