Land of the Fading Sun: Balance of Power Shifts in Asia Rankings

Times Higher Education, June 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Land of the Fading Sun: Balance of Power Shifts in Asia Rankings


Japan still in top spot but China gains ground as Beijing ramps up spending. John Morgan writes

More Chinese universities have entered the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014, while its rival Japan has lost representatives.

The shift in balance between the two biggest higher education powers in Asia takes place against a backdrop of the Beijing government rapidly increasing research funding, while its neighbour across the East China Sea wrestles with cuts.

Japan is still the number one nation in the rankings - with 20 representatives in the top 100 including the University of Tokyo in first place - but has lost two institutions since 2013. By contrast, mainland China has gained three new representatives in the rankings, taking its total to 18.

South Korea takes the third spot with 14 universities, including three in the top 10, while Taiwan falls from second to fourth place with 13 representatives.

Like the overarching THE World University Rankings, the Asia rankings, for which data are collected and analysed by Thomson Reuters, use 13 indicators to examine performance in teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

Research income, research reputation and research influence (measured in terms of "citation impact", ie, how many times research is cited globally) are all among the measures.

Simon Pratt, product manager at Thomson Reuters, said that China was achieving "only modest gains" in citation impact and reputation in the rankings - despite big increases in government research funding - but that "we are seeing a general trend over recent years that we expect to continue".

Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the Institute of Education, University of London, noted that Japan's public spending "has been significantly constrained for the past two decades". …

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