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Demystify University Rankings

Analyze and understand the bibliometric drivers in rankings with SciVal

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Navigating the complexities of university rankings

Deciphering university rankings and how they are calculated can seem daunting. Vast areas of focus, differing methodologies, and inputs create a complex landscape. While bibliometric datasets are a key component of many ranking methodologies and offer invaluable insights, acquiring and interpreting this information can be a significant hurdle.

Here's where SciVal steps in — a transformative tool that simplifies this complex process and provides actionable insights for universities. With the trusted data from Scopus® at its core, SciVal cuts through this complexity by providing access to the same bibliometric datasets used by prominent ranking organizations. Let's explore further how SciVal can reshape the approach universities take for their rankings strategies and strategic planning.

An image for a video that shows a fictional character, Ramon, contemplating what he needs to understand about University Rankings.

Demystify University Rankings: A closer look

Understanding the bibliometric datasets: A key component of ranking methodologies 

One component most rankers use in their methodologies is bibliometric data—data associated with the outputs or publications researchers publish to share their research findings.

Example data points and metrics from SciVal and Scopus include:

  • Citation Count: The number of citations received by publications from researchers at an institution

  • Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI): Citation impact normalized by field, publication year and publication type

  • Scholarly Output: The number of publications produced by researchers at an institution

  • International Co-authorship: The proportion of publications by researchers at an institution that involves international collaborations

  • Institutional affiliations of researchers

Organizations like Times Higher Education, QS and U.S. News & World Report use datasets obtained from Scopus as a reliable source to underpin select rankings. This allows for a quantitative, consistent, comparable view of each university's research activities and performance. It also ensures a robust and trustworthy basis for comparison as part of their ranking methodologies.

Scopus content slide

Transform ranking analysis and strategic planning using SciVal 

With a foundation built on authoritative, globally sourced Scopus data, SciVal employs advanced data science and artificial intelligence to deliver comprehensive analytics and insights into the research activities and performance of universities and research organizations worldwide. Notably, it encompasses the bibliometric datasets key to university rankings. This provides in-depth analysis and understanding of your performance at multiple levels: researcher, department, faculty and university.

In other words, SciVal brings to life insights into your university’s research activities against global peer benchmarks to enhance ranking and research strategy decisions.

A magnifying glass used to get a closer view of a graph

SciVal can bring a clearer view into the bibliometric drivers behind rankings.

Remove the reliance on proxies and manual curation

SciVal's ranking analysis can relieve the burden of relying on manual curation and developing proxy indicators for the bibliometrics used in rankings. With SciVal, you can explore, understand, and gain insights from the actual bibliometric datasets used by the ranking organizations, saving you the time and frustration of manually collecting, organizing and interpreting data.

SciVal's ranking analyses include:

  • QS World University Rankings 2024, 2023, 2022 and 2021

  • Times Higher Education’s WUR, 2024, 2023, 2002, and 2021

Here you see the QS World University Rankings 2024 analysis for a university within SciVal’s Rankings analysis.

A short video that shows how you can see the QS WUR Citations per Faculty and IRN metrics in SciVal.

Here you see the QS WUR 2024 for a university within the Rankings analysis feature of the Overview module in SciVal.

This includes a detailed view of university performance across each bibliometric indicator used in the QS WUR 2024 for all ranked institutions. The bibliometric datasets and detailed views include analyses of the publications considered for each ranking component.

The same is true for Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings (THE WUR), helping to bring clarity to the bibliometric datasets across the THE WUR 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

A short video of THE WUR 2024 analysis

How do you compare to your peers?

SciVal's benchmarking capabilities

SciVal also enables you to benchmark your rankings performance to any global peer through access to the bibliometric datasets within the Benchmarking module. This further enhances your ability to understand and compare your position and the drivers underlying the rankings performance of you and your peers. Extensive metric guidance also helps you learn about the bibliometrics used in new and previous ranking methodologies.  

An image the compares the QS World University Rankings metrics for three anonymized universities.

A snapshot view of benchmarking the QS World University Rankings metrics for three universities using SciVal.

Strengthen your institution: Strategic insights with SciVal 

The insights you gather from the ranking analysis feature are designed to inform your rankings strategies and give you a deeper understanding of your position, relative to peers and the drivers underlying the bibliometric components of rankings.

Overall, no matter your position or role at a university, if you need to understand rankings, there are a variety of ways SciVal can support you, such as:

  • Creating management-level reports based on deep-dives into the bibliometric data and metrics used by major rankings organizations.

  • Creating benchmarking reports against peers across the bibliometrics used in rankings.

  • Using analyses to inform the development of faculty and department-level rankings and publication strategies.


Scopus® is an authoritative and comprehensive database trusted by major ranking organizations for accurate and connected bibliometric datasets. It is also at the core of SciVal. By combining the analytical power and flexibility of SciVal, together with the breadth and depth of connected bibliometric data from Scopus®, you gain a digital consultant that not only helps you answer questions related to rankings but also helps uncover insights you can apply across your research programs and strategic planning.