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Should you believe in the Shanghai ranking? An NCDM view

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  • Billaut, Jean-Charles
  • Bouyssou, Denis
  • Vincke, Philippe

Abstract

This paper proposes a critical analysis of the “Academic Ranking of World Universities”, published every year by the Institute of Higher Education of the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and more commonly known as the Shanghai ranking. After having recalled how the ranking is built, we first discuss the relevance of the criteria and then analyze the proposed aggregation method. Our analysis uses tools and concepts from Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). Our main conclusions are that the criteria that are used are not relevant, that the aggrega- tion methodology is plagued by a number of major problems and that the whole exercise suffers from an insufficient attention paid to fundamental structuring is- sues. Hence, our view is that the Shanghai ranking, in spite of the media coverage it receives, does not qualify as a useful and pertinent tool to discuss the “quality” of academic institutions, let alone to guide the choice of students and family or to promote reforms of higher education systems. We outline the type of work that should be undertaken to offer sound alternatives to the Shanghai ranking.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/2947.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Publication status: Published in Scientometrics, 2010, Vol. 84, no. 1. pp. 237-263.Length: 26 pages
Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/2947

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Related research

Keywords: Evaluation Models; Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis; Higher Education; Shanghai Ranking;

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References

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  1. Jill Johnes, 2006. "Measuring Efficiency: A Comparison of Multilevel Modelling and Data Envelopment Analysis in the Context of Higher Education," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 75-104, 04.
  2. Laurens Cherchye & Wim Moesen & Nicky Rogge & Tom Van Puyenbroeck & Michaela Saisana & A. Saltelli & R. Liska & S. Tarantola, 2006. "Creating Composite Indicators with DEA and Robustness Analysis: the case of the Technology Achievement Index," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces0613, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
  3. Sen, Amartya, 1993. "Internal Consistency of Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 495-521, May.
  4. Bana e Costa, Carlos A. & Ensslin, Leonardo & Correa, Emerson C. & Vansnick, Jean-Claude, 1999. "Decision Support Systems in action: Integrated application in a multicriteria decision aid process," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 315-335, March.
  5. Hutchel, Armand & Molet, Hughues, 1986. "Rational modelling in understanding and aiding human decision-making: About two case studies," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 178-186, January.
  6. Eden, Colin, 1988. "Cognitive mapping," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-13, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Saisana, Michaela & d'Hombres, Béatrice & Saltelli, Andrea, 2011. "Rickety numbers: Volatility of university rankings and policy implications," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 165-177, February.

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