Last week I was heavily involved in the launch of the 2014 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings.
It went incredibly well. At 9pm on Wednesday evening (GMT) the results went live online, accompanied by the above news story, a podcast and analysis from leading figures from the higher education sector. We put the word out through our social media channels, and the clicks started to flow.
As anyone involved in a launch will know, orchestrating this seemingly simple series of events is actually a process that is months in the making. The previous week had seen rankings editor Phil Baty giving wall-to-wall media interviews with news outlets across the world, before flying to Japan (the best-performing country in Asia) for an official launch event in Tokyo.
The web team had to ensure the rankings site was ready for the millions of clicks that were heading its way (nothing scuppers a launch like a website that won't load), while our Chinese-speaking social media guru and I had to ready ourselves for the Tweeting, Weibo-ing, LinkedIn-ing, Facebooking and Google Plus-ing that had to be coordinated so that our message reached as many of our followers as quickly as possible.
At 5am on the morning following the launch, I was in my living room getting ready to give interviews to BBC Scotland, BBC London and LBC, having already prepared statements for the Independent, a French newspaper, Swedish television and some radio stations in the US.
This barely scratches the surface of the work that went on so that the Times Higher Education could list the 100 universities that academics believe are the best in the world. I haven't even mentioned the processes involved in collecting surveys from more than 10,500 scholars from across the world - the information used to formulate the final league table. So why do we do it?
For universities, reputation is key. It's one of the main ways that they attract students, top faculty members, and research funding. For me, the Reputation Rankings stand out as the most interesting of all the global university rankings tables because although this is a subjective measure, it is based solely on the judgement of a huge jury of the academic experts who work in these institutions day in, day out.
With other tables, people can question the emphasis placed on different measures (be that research citations, published papers, international outlook, or whatever). With the reputation rankings, there's nowhere to hide. These are the institutions that the scholarly world considers the best.
As the Roman wit Publilius Syrus famously wrote: “A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
You can access the 2014 World Reputation Rankings here.
Picture: Times Higher Education
Originally Posted On LinkedIN By: Chris Parr
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