Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, has slipped six places in the latest Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2015. The university has fallen from its earlier 32nd rank to 38th, although it continued being ranked higher than most of the Indian institutes including all the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The Asia rankings are based on data gathered for the larger world rankings for 2014-15 that were released late last year.
The methodology followed for the rankings was same as last year. This year PU got 23.7 points in teaching, 10.5 in research, 84.4 in citations, 28.3 in industrial income and 29.2 in international outlook. Its overall score this year was 38.5 while in 2014 it had managed to score 40.2 points.
PU’S CONSISTENT SHOW
High citation scores continue to be university’s strong point. The journal Nature too recently gave PU the top rank in the country by comparing the citation rates in the benchmark Elsevier’s Scopus database of all Indian institutions. PU had produced more than 2,000 papers between 2010 and 2014 which were published in the database.
CWTS Leiden rankings -an annual global university ranking based exclusively on bibliometric indicators -placed PU on the top position in India in inter-institution collaborative publications. In the same rankings, the varsity was ranked 631 in the world.
As for the Times Asia rankings, it underlines that among Indian institutions PU is second, only behind the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, which is overall ranked 37th in Asia.
University of Tokyo, Japan, is ranked as the top Asian institute while National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong are second and third respectively.
MIRACLE, SAYS V-C
Commenting on PU’s status as the second best institution in the country according to the ranking and 38th in Asia, PU’s vice-chancellor Arun Grover said “We are just next to IISc; it is a miracle. They have 400 scientists and about 2,500 students who get research scholarships. Look at their infrastructure.”
Grover was optimistic about the future, stating that PU had all the resources that would lead to its overall growth. “PU has high citations. It is a number which adds up. We have stalwarts whose contributions are also responsible. We have recruited very good faculty recently. Give them time. They will take the university forward,” he said.
According to Times Higher Education’s representative Fran Langdon, PU’s drop in the rankings had more to do with other universities performing better rather than PU’s own standards declining. “PU’s performance has been relatively consistent year on year -it has simply been trumped by some faster developing institutions,” he said adding that while there was no need for the university to be concerned it had to constantly strive to improve.
INDIA SLUMPS OVERALL
Langdon, however, said India had to strengthen its overall academic structure if it had to academically grow at the same rate as others. “Three of India’s institutions, which were part of the rankings last year, have not found a place in the standings this year,” he said.
Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, said, “It is a cause of concern for India that it has lost ground. It has fewer representatives this year and most of those that made it have fallen down the list”, and added that it was “worrying” that IIT-Guwahati, IIT-Kanpur and Jadavpur University, which had made it to the list of top 100 institutes last year, exited from the rankings this time around. Langdon urged India to invest in academic research or else it would be “left behind by other nations.”
Grover said Indian universities had to use concentrated efforts to improve at a faster rate than other universities.
The methodology for Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings includes evaluation on research income from industry/academic staff, citation impact, reputation survey, scholarly papers, number of international students and academic staff, papers published in international collaborations, staff to student ratio, PhDs and undergraduate degrees awarded and institutional income.