UNU announces launch of a groundbreaking global university research benchmarking system
First results cover more than 700 universities in North America and the Asia–Pacific
The Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS), the first international university research benchmarking initiative, debuts on November 23, 2011 at http://www.researchbenchmarking.org.
The GRBS initiative, first announced in October 2010 at UN Headquarters, in New York, is a joint effort of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST) in Macao, China, and the US-based Center for Measuring University Performance. It is supported by over 30 contributing organizations from a dozen countries.
A central tenet driving the GRBS is to provide insight to support the diversity of university research. The system analyses university research performance at a finer level of detail than has previously been done by any international ranking or evaluation system. In addition to broad subject categories such as Engineering or Medicine, the GRBS includes detailed subject categories like Aerospace Engineering and Cardiology. Universities are selected for inclusion in the GRBS based on their research performance in such fine-grained areas. The result is a system that is able to highlight the performance of universities with particular niche strengths, and to expand focus beyond the largest and most comprehensive institutions.
By using only verifiable data to measure the quality, impact and internationality of scientific research, and by providing flexible analytical tools that permit each user to focus on those aspects of university research performance most relevant to his/her needs, this initiative supports universities in many ways. The new approach supports each university to determine its own research profile and to identify niche areas in which the university can excel; to make more rational strategic and resource allocation decisions; to identify partners with complementary strengths; and to publicize programme strengths. The primary data source for the initiative is the SciVerse Scopus, Elsevier's abstract and citation database, which has been chosen due to its broad coverage of high-quality international peer-reviewed research literature.
"We must not reduce the richness of universities' contributions to a single number published in a league table, as is common in today's ranking systems," says Prof. Peter Haddawy, Director of UNU-IIST. "The GRBS is an open collaborative effort of the academic community that seeks broad input and promotes discussion of the important issues in promoting excellence in higher education."
"This is an ambitious project that is sorely needed. The Center for Measuring University Performance is happy to participate and help generate valid and reliable data that can be used to assess the quality of universities across the globe", said founders of the Center for Measuring University Performance, Prof. John V. Lombardi (Louisiana State University System President) and Prof. Elizabeth D. "Betty" Capaldi (Provost and Executive Vice President at Arizona State University).
GRBS is also the first research evaluation system attempting to evaluate the research landscape in Sustainable Development. Initial coverage focuses on Renewable Energy, covering Solar Power, Wind Power, Hydro Power, and Biofuels and Biomass Energy. More areas, such as Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation, will be added in the coming months.
The first results cover over 700 universities in North America and Asia-Pacific. The next rounds of results covering other parts of the world are scheduled for release in due course. In particular, universities from the European Union will be added within the coming few months.
The 2011 release covers 729 universities from Asia-Pacific, USA, and Canada. The list of universities can be downloaded from here: http://www.researchbenchmarking.org/Contents/university_list.pdf