The following data and insights are based on high-level summary of the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Expanded insights will be published in the next 24 hours allowing a deeper analysis of component metrics.

Key highlights from this latest data are:

  • Congratulations to UTS for cementing their 9th Australian place position from last year and for improving their overall world ranking.
  • University of Tasmania has re-entered the rankings, and now occupies a place in the top 251-300 a region previously occupied by Macquarie (261-world and 9-Australia in 2013-14 now 301-350 and 18-19).  UTAS leap-frogged 8 contenders from last year’s ranking to achieve a top 17 position among Australian unis (tomorrow’s results will provide actual position).
  • Comparing our universities to the rest of the world, the Top 9 all improved their positions with the exception of ANU which moved from 45th to just outside the top 50 at 52nd in the world.
  • The top 12 Australian universities have not moved relative to each other.
  • Melbourne held on to their number 1 position in Australia remaining the 33rd world ranked.
  • New entrants Flinders, Griffith and James Cook brushed past Macquarie and Murdoch in their rise to the top 17.
  • The Scopus database has not been as kind to Curtin as the new Thomson Highly Cited database was earlier this year.
  • Curtin and Murdoch moved out of the Australian top 20 and Tasmania moved in. This resulted in a decrease from 20 to 19 Australian universities in the top 400.
  • With 31 universities ranked out of a possible 43 (public and private), the inclusive 800 list may say more about our universities without a ranking.

It’s important to note the key changes in methodology this year including:

  1. The ranking list has been expanded from 400 to 800 universities. Australia now has 31 universities in the top 800, compared with 20 in the top 400 last year.
  2. New (THES in-house) academic peer reviewed survey methodology now has a broader reach to non-English speaking regions and academics.  This is an attempt to correct for US-centric survey results.  Unsurprisingly, the new survey appears to have had little impact on the upper rankings but may explain some of the volatility in lower ranked universities.
  3. Usage of Elsevier Scopus database of research publications rather than Thomson Reuters with a much broader range of both non-English speaking and arts and humanities publications.  This is likely to be the other main cause of volatility in the lower ranked universities.