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Chief Editor of Webometrics Reveals Secrets of New Generation Ratings

December 16, 2015

On 14 December the Chief Editor of Webometrics Isidro Aguillo conducted a master class under the title “Metric 2.0: Preparation for new generation ratings. ”This class, which was organized jointly by the Project Office and NRNU MEPhI, is Professor Aguillo’s second presentation at the university within the last six months.

Prior to the Spanish expert’s contribution, the university also hosted a round table called “New Generation of Ratings”. Nadezhda Polikhina (Deputy Executive Director of the Project Office) noted the positive dynamic demonstrated by Project universities in 2015 and said that “University ratings make it easier for various audiences – from prospective students to potential business partners – to choose the right university”. She went on to speak about current trends in the development of ratings, specifically the change of methodologies and calculation approaches introduced by the world’s most respected rating systems - Times Higher Education (ТНЕ) and QS – whose lists of by-subject rankings have significantly expanded.

Alexei Falaleev (Head of Expert Support for Project Office programs) informed his audience that at the recent BRICS University Summit in Delhi, Phil Baty (Chief Editor of THE Rankings) had predicted that next year the number of THE by-subject ratings will increase to 30. Baty also was quoted to have said that if the government is willing to make substantial investments into universities and manages to allot (and wisely) sufficient funds  toward the necessary research, the first positive results in the rankings should be expected not later than five years from now.  Finally, Baty explained that   innovative equipment, the appearance of dynamic professional scientists and frontiers of new and creative research all take time to develop, and that, based on his personal experience, we should be patient and be prepared to wait out this five year period in order to view the full effects of these investments.

Alexei Chaplygin (Head of National University Ranking Group, INTERFAX) told his listeners about University 3.0 models, which are popular in the West but are only just starting to appear in our national education market.

The presentation of Oleg Solovyev (Coordinator at RUR Rating Agency) concluded the round table. In his presentation entitled “Metrics for next generation ratings” Solovyev spoke in detail about the metric indicators used in current ratings, which spheres of university life they measure and how-- based on current trends -- they are able to determine which indicators and ratings will be relevant in the future.

The master class of Professor Aguillo followed the round table. Aguillo used the case of the internet portal of MEPhI University to demonstrate the positive and negative aspects which affect how a university is generally perceived.  He encouraged universities to “invest maximum time and effort in the home page of their websites, because it is the first page which visitors see and therefore the one mostly likely to leave a lasting impression. This is a priority task for any university”. Also, according to Professor Aguillo’s recommendation, universities should make sure that all university sites (if there are several) are presented in the  same style; that the brand book of the university is detailed; that the website is easy to navigate; and that there are plenty  of personal pages of scientists with their publications. He also said that universities should avoid publishing texts translated by computers, especially those about the scientific achievements of the universities, and should trust translation specialists with these more exacting tasks.

The new edition of the Webometrics university ranking will be released in January 2016.