Rankings are funny things. Economists love them. There are rankings by department, by citation, and by subdiscipline. My favourite one is the top dead economist. You’d think it would be Adam Smith, but no.
Some people even rank their rankings.
There are even rankings of business schools, academics, and celebrity economists in Ireland, thanks to Richard Tol and colleagues. The rankings aren’t without controversy. In particular, some see ranking as academic bureaucracy and nothing more, others (like frequent IrishEconomy poster Ernie Ball) point to the perverse incentives such rankings produce in academic life, as well as other serious issues. Ferdinand Von Prondzynski summarises the arguments well here. Here is another particularly harsh assessment of these rankings.
Today’s university rankings show two Irish universities and economics departments in a particularly good light. TCD and UCD come out really well in several areas. Other universities, including mine, don’t feature as prominently at all. Brian Lucey has done the spade work on his blog going through the report, and I reproduce his summary below the fold. Some remarkable findings in there–TCD mathematics is 15th in the world, TCD psychology is top 50, for example–as well as the news that UCD and TCD economics departments are both in the top 50 100 (ht Enda H). Well done to them.
I’m particularly interested in commenters’ reactions to this latest report, and what it might mean for universities in Ireland that a. don’t make the cut in terms of rankings, and b. those that do. Rather than rehashing the tired “rankings-good/rankings-bad” argument, let’s focus, if we can, on what these rankings imply for the funding each university receives by subject area, in the light of the Hunt Report and it’s eventual implementation. Should resources flow disproportionately to the ‘winners’–TCD and UCD–or alternatively to other universities to bring up capacity? Should all universities do everything, or should there be partitions by subject area? Should UCD’s mathematics department, to pick an example at random, give up and go home, given than TCD’s is so obviously world class? Take a look at the summary below to begin.
Sociology: TCD 48; UCD 51-100
Statistics and OR: no Irish university in top 200, which is worrying as this is a key business analytics function and one that has great job opportunities.
Politics and International Relations: TCD 50, UCD 51-100
Law: TCD, QUB, UCD and UCC all in the 51-100 ranking, indicating a massive strength in legal scholarship on the island. We rarely hear of law as an area in which the government is going to invest, but clearly we have strength and it would make sense to build on this.
Economics and Econometrics: TCD and UCD are both ranked in the 51-100 area, and it is interesting that there is in place a jointly taught PhD programme in this area. Again it shows a cluster, Dublin based, of world ranked excellence in this area, which if one were to take the ESRI into account is even stronger
Accounting and Finance: TCD 51-100, QUB and UCD 100-151; some potential here it would seem especially when one considers the close linkages with economics. I might also modestly note, being in that area, that there are significant size differences between the three schools – TCD has 4 finance faculty and 3 accounting, the others have…more
English: TCD 32, UCD 51-100
Modern Languages TCD 51-100
History: TCD 39, QUB and UCD 51-100
Philosophy: TCD and UCD both 51-100
Geography: TCD and UCD 51-100, QUB 151-200
Linguistics: no Irish university was ranked in the top 200 here
Computer Science and Engineering: UCD 51-100, TCD 101-150,
Civil and Structural Engineering: TCD and UCD 100-151, QUB 151-200
Chemical Engineering: TCD QUB and UCD 51-100, NUIG 101-150, UCC 151-200
Electrical/Electronic Engineering: TCD and QUB 51-100, UCC 100-150, DIT (its only entry in a subject in the top 200) 151-200, also NUIG and UCD here
Mechanical Engineering: TCD and UCC 51-100, NUIG 101-150, UCD and QUB 151-200, again another engineering cluster of excellence
Medicine: TCD 51-100, UCD 101-150, UCC and QUB 151-200. Interesting that there is no mention of the RCSI here…
Biological Science: TCD 51-100, UCD and UCC 101-150, NUIG 151-200,
Psychology: TCD 48, UCD 51-100, QUB 151-200
Chemistry: TCD 36, QUB 51-100, UCD 101-150, UCC 151-200, which when combined with the chemical engineering rankings suggests that this is an area in which as an island we punch heavily worldwide
Physics: TCD 49, UCC QUB and UCD 151-200
Metallurgy and Material Science: UCD 151-200
Mathematics: TCD 15, a fantastic achievement indeed…UCD 101-150, UCC and QUB 151-200
Environmental Sciences: TCD, UCD and UCC all 101-150, QUB 151-200
Earth Science: TCD 101-150, NUIG, UCC and UCD 151-200