On behalf of AppliedHE, I would like to apologize to the students, faculty, alumni and other valued community members and stakeholders of the University of Newcastle (Australia). In the recently published AppliedHE Rankometer World University Rankings I failed to include the University of Newcastle among the list of the world’s top-500 universities due to a data processing error. While to err is human, I am also fully aware of the consequences of this error, which removed the University of Newcastle not only from the world ranking but also from the list of 28 Australian universities included in Rankometer. This gave the impression that the University of Newcastle is not a top global nor a top Australian university. It is a mistake that I deeply regret and which was wholly unintentional.
To set the record straight, the University of Newcastle (Australia) should have been placed as 231st in the World and 16th in Australia in Rankometer. Its Rankometer score of 1,409 points is based on its 197th rank in the QS World University Rankings, its 301st rank in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, its 251st rank in the THE World University Rankings, its 336th rank in the Leiden Rankings (PP 10%) and its 324th rank in the Webometrics Ranking Web of Universities: a strong showing across all five constituent rankings.
For Australia the correct Rankometer rankings are therefore as follows:
|38||310||University of Melbourne|
|40||341||University of Queensland|
|48||367||University of Sydney|
|52||381||Australian National University|
|53||400||University of New South Wales|
|83||599||University of Adelaide|
|104||723||University of Western Australia|
|124||789||University of Technology Sydney|
|166||1061||University of Wollongong|
|231||1409||University of Newcastle (Australia)|
|250||1520||University of Tasmania|
|251||1521||University of Victoria|
|292||1723||La Trobe University|
|298||1754||University of South Australia|
|301||1766||Western Sydney University|
|302||1767||Queensland University of Technology|
|350||2087||Swinburne University of Technology|
|361||2157||James Cook University|
|395||2334||University of Canberra|
|403||2393||Australian Catholic University|
|497||2886||Edith Cowan University|
In order to try and correct the mistake, AppliedHE is updating its Rankometer page to now include the University of Newcastle in its ranking tables (https://AppliedHE.com/rankometer), adding an erratum to its methodology page, issuing this public apology and correction and distributing it through AppliedHE Xtra! Xtra! and AppliedHE social media channels. I am also reaching out to media that have covered Rankometer and to the University of Newcastle with this same message.
With regards to the cause of the data processing error: the algorithm used to match university names mistakenly identified the University of Newcastle (Australia) as Newcastle University (United Kingdom), an institution sometimes also referred to as the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in some of the constituent rankings. Because of this error the University of Newcastle scored 1001 points in these rankings, thus lowering its Rankometer rank and excluding it from the top-500 institutions in Rankometer.
This error should have been noticed before publication of Rankometer, however it was not because only a limited share of the more than 5,000 data points used to compile Rankometer were manually re-checked. The name-matching algorithm has since been corrected to avoid recurrence of the error. I have also re-audited the Rankometer results to see if similar naming errors have occurred. I have been unable to find any further errors at this time.
Although this mistake only concerns a single institution, I am well aware that this error can undermine confidence in Rankometer and all AppliedHE evaluation tools. As the old Dutch saying goes: trust comes on foot, but leaves on horseback. While it is no replacement for accuracy, this mistake re-enforces the need to be as transparent as possible with the use of data. Please note that the constituent ranking used to calculate the Rankometer score are also provided at https://AppliedHE.org/download/rankometer_top500_final.pdf.
Finally, allow me to thank the person who pointed out the discrepancy concerning the University of Newcastle in Rankometer. Your vigilance and interest in Rankometer are warmly appreciated.
Should any person have any further questions about Rankometer, please do not hesitate to contact AppliedHE. I would be more than happy to respond to any such inquiries.
Pieter E. Stek, Chief Analyst