NEW DELHI: Days after the 2020 edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings jolted India as it did not contain a single local institution among the top 300, the government is readying to take up the matter with the London-headquartered ranking agency as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) believes “flaws and misinterpretation of data” led to its slide to the 300-350 ranking bracket from 250-300.

At a special review of the rankings held by the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry at the IISc in Bengaluru on Friday, the institute pointed to serious “flaws” in the data assessment of the ranking agency that it said had resulted in its slide in the latest rankings. IISc is preparing a detailed report to validate its claim.

“We held a meeting at IISc Bangalore on the issue of the recent slippage in rankings. The IISc has flagged concerns on the data used by the ranking agency and has pointed to data flaws and data misinterpretation. They will also give a detailed report on the same,” R Subrahmanyam, secretary Higher Education Department, HRD ministry, told ET. “We will be taking up the matter with the agency and we expect they will take our concerns on board.”

The IISc has been India’s consistent and often sole representative in the world’s top 300 institutions for years. It figured in the 250-300 ranking bracket since 2015, before dropping in the latest rankings. With its slide, for the first time since 2012 there is no Indian institution among the world’s top 300 institutions.

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According to THE, the IISc slipped in the ranking because of its poor show on the citation index, which has a 30% weightage in the overall score. This parameter examines research influence by capturing the average number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars globally.

The IISc scored 32.4 on citations, its lowest score since 2015. From a citation score of 47.3 in 2017, IISc dipped to 44.4 in the 2018 rankings, 41.7 in the 2019 rankings and a near ten places to 32.4 this time around.

While the IISc has pointed to data flaws, especially on the citation parameter, officials at the review also asked IISc to improve on all parameters including the citation record.

The IISc, however, is not the only Indian institute complaining about the latest rankings. Several IITs have also expressed unhappiness and have come together to ask for a discussion with the ranking agency.

In the latest rankings, second generation IITs – IIT Ropar and IIT Indore (placed in the 301-350 and 350-400 brackets respectively) – have outdone the older IITs in Mumbai, Delhi and Kharagpur that have been placed in the 401-500 bracket.





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