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University–industry R&D linkage metrics: validity and applicability in world university rankings

Author

Listed:
  • Robert J. W. Tijssen

    () (Leiden University
    Stellenbosch University)

  • Alfredo Yegros-Yegros

    (Leiden University)

  • Jos J. Winnink

    (Leiden University
    NL Patent Office)

Abstract

Abstract In September 2015 Thomson Reuters published its Ranking of Innovative Universities (RIU). Covering 100 large research-intensive universities worldwide, Stanford University came in first, MIT was second and Harvard in third position. But how meaningful is this outcome? In this paper we will take a critical view from a methodological perspective. We focus our attention on the various types of metrics available, whether or not data redundancies are addressed, and if metrics should be assembled into a single composite overall score or not. We address these issues in some detail by emphasizing one metric in particular: university–industry co-authored publications (UICs). We compare the RIU with three variants of our own University–Industry R&D Linkage Index, which we derived from the bibliometric analysis of 750 research universities worldwide. Our findings highlight conceptual and methodological problems with UIC-based data, as well as computational weaknesses such university ranking systems. Avoiding choices between size-dependent or independent metrics, and between single-metrics and multi-metrics systems, we recommend an alternative ‘scoreboard’ approach: (1) without weighing systems of metrics and composite scores; (2) computational procedures and information sources are made more transparent; (3) size-dependent metrics are kept separate from size-independent metrics; (4) UIC metrics are selected according to the type of proximity relationship between universities and industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. W. Tijssen & Alfredo Yegros-Yegros & Jos J. Winnink, 2016. "University–industry R&D linkage metrics: validity and applicability in world university rankings," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(2), pages 677-696, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:109:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-016-2098-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-016-2098-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. McAleer, M.J. & Nakamura, T. & Watkins, C., 2018. "Size, Internationalization and University Rankings: Evaluating Times Higher Education (THE) Data for Japan," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI2018-43, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    2. Michael McAleer & Tamotsu Nakamura & Clinton Watkins, 2019. "Size, Internationalization, and University Rankings: Evaluating and Predicting Times Higher Education (THE) Data for Japan," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(5), pages 1-12, March.

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