The Academic Ranking of World Universities tells a very good story for Australian university research. The number of Australian universities in the top 500 increased from 20 in 2015 to 23 this year with the inclusion of La Trobe, Western Sydney and RMIT in the top 500.

This is a great result for our Go8 universities with Melbourne moving up again to 40th in the world, UQ to 55th and Monash, Sydney and UWA moving into the top 100 universities. With ANU steady, this makes 6 of the Go8 in the world top 100.

Arguably the best overall result goes to Deakin, moving from 416 to 216 in 2 years and to 11th position in Australia. HECG has been a supporter and admirer of Deakin’s student-centric teaching and support initiatives of recent years. Deakin appears to be contradicting the sceptics who assert you can’t simultaneously improve teaching and research.

Honourable mention goes to QUT for moving into the top 300 in only 2 years and 14th position in Australia.

Overall Australia has been a beneficiary of the change in Highly Cited Researcher database. More than 90% of our improvement has come from this one measure with an average increase in HiCi score of 6 out of 100[1].

This is not true for other English speaking countries. The US lost 9 universities from the rankings (1 from the top 20) and the UK lost 1 from the top 100.

An amazing result for China with 10 new universities in the top 500 and 2 in the top 100 for the first time with Tsinghua University at 58 and Peking University at 71. Singapore too has NUS at 83 with a first time entry in the top 100.

[1] Note: The author of this paper has noted some duplicate researchers contained in the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited database.