An upward trend
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a definitive ‘university ranking’. Rather, what we have are rankings of certain attributes or characteristics of universities (much like those we might expect to observe in the case of an individual, for instance: age, weight, height or intelligence).
With this caveat in mind, when the criteria used in a ranking can be tracked over time, observing how a university’s relative position has evolved can provide valuable and pertinent data.
So, how has the University of Granada’s position evolved in recent years, according to international rankings? Let us examine a number of internationally renowned rankings based, to a large extent, on objective measurements of scientific and research output.
Perhaps the most high-profile of all is the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking. In this ranking system, the UGR has substantially improved its position over the past ten years, rising over 200 places in total. The 2017 edition of the ARWU places the University of Granada in 268th position in the world and as the second-highest ranked University in Spain, reaffirming its position as an institution at the forefront of national and international research.
The UGR is second only to the University of Barcelona in the ARWU, outperforming — for the second year running — other important Spanish institutions such as Pompeu Fabra University, the Complutense University of Madrid, the Autonomous University of Madrid, the University of Valencia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
From the perspective of specific academic subjects in the 2017 ARWU, particularly noteworthy are the UGR’s achievements in the subjects of Library & Information Sciences (11th worldwide), Food Science & Technology (30th worldwide), Computer Science & Engineering (33rd worldwide), and Mathematics (top 76-100). In the disciplines of Earth Science, Psychology, and Dentistry & Oral Sciences, the University of Granada features among the top 101-150 institutions on the globe, and among the top 151-200 in the subjects of Electronical Engineering, Instruments Science, Geography, and Statistics. Given this exceptional performance in the prestigious ARWU, the academic year 2017-2018 promises to be another momentous era for our Institution.
We find a similar trend reflected in another leading ranking system — the Scimago Institutions Rankings — in which the UGR is currently ranked 8th from among 61 higher education institutions in Spain (SIR 2017). Elsewhere, in the NTU (Taiwan) Ranking, the UGR has reached 303rd position internationally and is ranked 6th in Spain (NTU 2017).
Meanwhile, in the 2017-2018 edition of the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP 2017-2018), the UGR has attained 241st position in the world and 6th in Spain. It has also moved up considerably in the 2017 CWTS Leiden Ranking, which measures the scientific impact of universities and their involvement in scientific collaboration, achieving 234th position in the world and 4th in Spain in 2017 – its best-ever performance in this ranking system (CWTS 2017).
Finally, in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, an initiative developed by the Cybermetics Lab (CSIC; Spanish National Research Council) and which examines scientific activity, knowledge generation and scholarly communication through the Internet and on specific websites, the UGR currently holds 237th position in the world and 3rd in Spain (Webometrics 2017).
Last but not least, the University of Granada has been ranked 197th in the world in the Transparent Ranking: Top Universities by Google Scholar Citations. This ranking — in contrast to the others so far examined — measures the international impact of specific research profiles.
The data presented in this article, highlighting the UGR’s continual progress in global university ranking systems, is just that; data. However, considering the socio-economic context in which the UGR operates and the resources-per-student at its disposal, this progression has been highly positive, and is a clear indication of the University's unyielding commitment to excelling in higher education.