The Chinese survey ranking the world’s top universities has received some coverage recently. It’s nonsense: just for starters, only the craziest partisan would rank Caltech above Oxford, or put LSE below Birmingham.
As the examples above might suggest, the survey’s science bias is bordering on the silly. 70% of the marks are awarded for Nobel prizes, articles published in the Nature and Science journals, and articles in the Science and Social Science Citation Indices. Various UK-specific rankings often have a similar bias, sometimes because they look at spending per student (under which, the best measure of performance is ‘the number of medicine students enrolled’).
I’m not sure why this is: it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of a team compiling such a survey to include scores for articles in humanities and law journals; to look at alumni who went on to become important in non-scientific fields; and so on.
Of couse, it might be because only a research team with a heavily quantitative focus would bother carrying out such a survey in the first place…