2022 Leiden Rankings

Social Sciences, Engineering, Human and Social Development, Libraries, Science

- University of Victoria

Bates. Credit: Beth Doman

UVic is the top North American university for international research collaborations—again

UVic’s international research partnerships have helped it deliver world-changing, field-defining research—and the data proves it.

International research rankings released today by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands once again show that UVic researchers consistently publish a greater concentration of high-impact findings based on international collaborations than any other school or institute in North America—a distinction it’s held for 11 of the last 12 years.

In mathematics and computer science, UVic is the top university in Canada, and number 50 globally, for its proportion of high-impact research findings.

UVic also scores second nationally for research in physical sciences and engineering, closely tailing the University of Toronto.

For research impact across all sciences, UVic is ranked 210 globally, up from 285 last year. It also leads Canada in publishing research in open access journals, making the latest scientific findings accessible, affordable and available to all.

International collaborations for global problems

More than just a ranking, creating a research-intensive hub for international collaborations opens doors to coordinated action and impact on a grand scale. Global research networks and “big science” projects such as UVic’s Ocean Networks Canada are a key part of the university’s success in addressing the world’s problems, and the Leiden rankings reflect the value of those partnerships and projects.

“Working internationally translates to sharing ideas and expertise that brings together diverse experiences and perspectives,” explains UVic marine biologist Amanda Bates, who was named one of the world’s most highly cited researchers in 2021.

This breadth in turn leads to innovative ideas and ways of tackling problems, which is exactly what is needed to address some of the grand challenges humanity is now facing.”

—Amanda Bates, UVic Impact Chair in Ocean Ecosystem Change and Conservation

Making science accessible and affordable

This year’s Leiden Rankings also show UVic retains its position as the nation’s leader in making research and scholarship accessible and affordable through open access publishing.

We need to shorten the time it takes for our research to impact society. Open access publishing is a critical strategy that ensures the public, the media, policy makers and people working in government and industry have access to the latest scholarship. UVic researchers and UVic libraries are leaders in their commitment to and support for open access. Their work supports more equitable access to information, and a more inclusive approach to policy making, innovation and service.”

—UVic Special Advisor on Health Research Nathan Lachowsky 

In addition to efforts in making the latest research free and available, UVic faculty and libraries are also spearheading efforts to reduce the cost of education by creating and sharing open access textbooks and other open educational resources.

Measuring up against large schools

The Leiden Ranking is unusual among the most prominent global university rankings because it focuses on “big data,” avoiding subjective measures like reputation surveys or other stand-in metrics such as the number of Nobel Laureates counted among a school’s alumni and faculty. Instead, Leiden evaluates research impact through citations, using a four-year set of bibliometrics to rank universities on the basis of how helpful—or essential—their research is to others.

Leiden’s data-driven rankings also help reveal ways that schools like UVic outperform much larger schools in producing high-value research. In much the same way that the largest and most prestigious universities have an outsized advantage in subjective rankings and name recognition, they also publish a large volume of research. The Leiden Rankings provide a means to compare the proportion of high-impact research that different sized schools produce, showing that some mid-sized universities like UVic may be more efficient at producing world-changing results than many large schools.

UVic’s outsized performance in addressing global challenges was also highlighted this April by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. UVic was recognized in those rankings as the second top-performing university globally for working to fulfill the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in two areas—climate action and sustaining life on land—and fifth in the world for preserving life below water.


An earlier version of this article misstated how many years UVic led the Leiden rankings in international research partnerships.


In this story

Keywords: rankings, research, international, sustainable impact, climate action, administrative

People: Amanda Bates, Nathan Lachowsky

Publication: The Ring

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