RANKING. The University of Gothenburg (GU) has moved up in this year’s Shanghai ranking, which now places it among the top 150 universities in the world. Within the ranking by subject area, GU does best in odontology, where it ranks 21st in the world. In clinical medicine the university rises to 33rd place.
In recent years the University of Gothenburg has been situated around the 200 mark, but it has now advanced about fifty places.
One important explanation for the university’s improved position is that our researchers are more frequently cited. Previously both Kaj Blennow and Karl Swedberg have been on this list. They have now been joined by Henrik Nilsson, who is an associate professor at the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, and Henrik Zetterberg, a professor at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology.
“Having many citations means that people are reading and thinking about the research you do, which is really great,” says Henrik Zetterberg, who believes that the increase in citations is a matter of timing.
“The biomarkers we are working with are very much in vogue in neuropsychiatry and Alzheimer’s research. Neurodegenerative diseases develop slowly, but now we know that the markers serve to identify the disease very early in the process. As a result more people want to use them and therefore cite our work.”
As an individual researcher, Henrik personally does not believe that his new status as a frequently cited researcher will have any particular significance, but he thinks the rise in the ranking is good for the university.
“I believe it can increase interest in the university and facilitate the recruitment of talented researchers.”
Odontology is best branch
The ranking uses selected indicators that assign a different number of points and significance for the placement on the list. Within the different subject rankings, the University of Gothenburg fared best in odontology, where we placed 21st. In the field of clinical medicine, the University makes a jump upward this year, from 44th to 33rd place. Agneta Holmäng, dean of Sahlgrenska Academy, is proud of the results.
“It’s a sign of strength and yet more proof of successful collaboration among Sahlgrenska Academy, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Region Västra Götaland. This also agrees with the results of the evaluation presented by the Swedish Research Council last spring in which clinical research in Region Västra Götaland was deemed to be the best in Sweden.”
Although these measurement methods are imprecise and rankings always needs to be taken with a grain of salt, Agneta Holmäng notes that the Shanghai list is considered one of the most reliable rankings of the world’s universities.
“It is a leading ranking, and I’m pleased that the university rates very well in several subjects we are working with at Sahlgrenska Academy. We also continue to be strong within both odontology and the health sciences.”
Importance of the proper affiliation
The ranking, the official name of which is actually the Academic Ranking of World Universities, was initially published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, but it is now published by the independent organization ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.
The list is based on a number of factors, including former students and employees awarded the Nobel Prize and other major awards within their fields, the number of frequently cited researchers and the number of articles in Nature and Science.
The Shanghai ranking has had a major impact, but as always with rankings, the method used to determine placement in the ranking is open to discussion.
“One single major scientific award or a single frequently cited researcher can have major effects on the placement in the ranking since major weight is given to them when the list is created,” says Magnus MacHale-Gunnarsson, analyst at Analysis and Teacher Education at the University of Gothenburg.
In his report on the Shanghai ranking, Magnus states that Sahlgrenska University Hospital probably counted as a separate higher education institution in the Shanghai ranking. Accordingly, the University of Gothenburg does not receive credit for publications that only are attributed to “Sahlgrenska Univ Hosp.” Therefore it’s important that researchers who are employed by Sahlgrenska University Hospital but are associated with the University of Gothenburg in their research also indicate that they are with the university.
You can read the analysis of the results for the University of Gothenburg in the latest Shanghai ranking here: https://medarbetarportalen.gu.se/digitalAssets/1697/1697026_pm_shanghai2018_gamma20180820.pdf
Read more about the Shanghai ranking here: http://www.shanghairanking.com/
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN