Three days after the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine released its world university rankings, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, said it had not submitted any data for evaluation to the publication this year.
The London-based magazine released the 2020 edition of the rankings on September 11.
While no Indian institute made it to the list of top 200 universities, the relatively new IIT-Ropar, established in 2008, ranked alongside the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, among the top 301-350 universities of the world.
IIT-Indore ranked among top 351-400 universities of the world, while IITs of Bombay, Delhi and Kharagpur were placed in the 401-500 bracket. The University of Oxford has topped the chart for the fourth consecutive year.
Claiming that IIT Bombay had not submitted any data to THE this year, institute’s spokesperson Falguni Banerjee Naha said, “Since the past few years, every year we have submitted some data to the agency. Unlike QS World University Rankings, which requires detailed information, THE needs limited details. This year, we decided that we did not want to participate in the rankings and had not submitted them any data for the same reason.”
QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds.
Naha added that the institution needs to understand how the agency included IIT Bombay and claimed there was a “lack of transparency”. The Indian Express sent a mail to THE’s regional director (South Asia), Ritin Malhotra, seeking comment on the matter.
In response, chief knowledge officer for THE, Phil Baty, said, “We require universities to provide us with basic information about their faculty and student numbers and their income, across 11 subject areas. But this data is combined with a large amount of independently sourced data — our annual reputation survey of over 10,000 scholars globally, and an analysis of almost 13 million research publications and over 77 million citations to those publications.”
He added, “We are happy to confirm that IIT Bombay did submit its institutional data to THE — we have a clear record of this submission, including the date and time of sign-off and the name of the approved data submitter. We are delighted that such an important institution in India chose to take part in THE’s rankings process. It is vital to support the growing global visibility and development of Indian higher education and research.”
An official from IIT Bombay told The Indian Express that the college had submitted data for 2017 and 2018, but not 2019, and a meeting of representatives of all IITs with the THE authorities is being sought to understand the process. “Faculties from other IITs have also complained of the same issue,” said the official.
The methodology used by THE, as mentioned on its website for 2018 rankings, institutions provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. “On the rare occasions, when a particular data point is not provided, we enter a conservative estimate for the affected metric. By doing this, we avoid penalising an institution too harshly with a “zero” value for data that it overlooks or does not provide, but we do not reward it for withholding them,” THE website says.
Performance indicators for the evaluation of rankings are grouped into five areas: teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students and research) and industry income (knowledge transfer).
In a recent Facebook post, IIT Delhi professor Ramgopal Rao had claimed that THE scores do not represent the true ranking of institutions. “In three of the ranking parameters, such as International students, International faculty and Faculty-student ratio, our institutions score close to Zero points. To be ranked globally, we need to internationalise our campuses,” the post said.
“If you rank world universities on just the ‘Research Impact’ scores, many of our top Indian institutions (read IITs and IISc) will be in the top 100… We don’t score well on perception based parameters on a global scale. Again because of the inward looking nature of our institutions and cultural issues. This is also changing now,” the post added.