2016 Leiden rankings highlight UVic's global research impact

A new international set of university rankings show that UVic research is having a global impact in the sciences, arts and humanities.

For the fifth consecutive year, the rankings produced by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University highlight UVic’s role as a hub for international research, with UVic researchers publishing a higher proportion of scholarly work based on international collaboration than any other Canadian university.

The ranking places UVic second among Canadian schools for scientific impact in two broad fields—mathematics and computer science, and physical sciences and engineering. UVic was fourth in the country, and 148 globally, for scientific impact overall. 

The value of “big data”

The Leiden Rankings use data-driven analysis of scientific publications—multi-year Web of Science publication and citation data in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities—to measure the performance of 842 leading universities, or approximately four per cent of the top research institutions worldwide.

Leiden’s metrics are unusual among university rankings because they rely solely on citation impact, and do not include the results of subjective survey responses by industry professionals and academics. That approach, applied to the immense numbers of citations in peer-reviewed journals, indicates the value of the work within the scholarly community rather than a school’s general reputation.

Of the world-leading universities that Leiden ranks, UVic is 58th in math and computer science, and 67th in physical sciences and engineering.

Additionally, UVic was the top Canadian university without a medical school in four of the ranking’s five categories—including biomedical and health sciences.

Outsized influence in health research

With a global rank of 235 for health research, UVic’s proportionate impact in this broad field trails only seven of Canada’s largest medical/doctoral universities—but positions it ahead of eight others.

The university’s outsized performance in health is no surprise to Castle. “UVic is recognized around the world for its leadership in oceans and climate research, and for playing key roles in some of the largest-scale international research projects in physics and astronomy, but the statistically driven Leiden rankings show that our faculty and grad students are consistently reshaping the edge of knowledge across many disciplines—health research is no exception.” 

Although the Leiden data can be sorted in many ways, UVic’s strong results are consistent, adjusting for size of institution and proportion of scientific papers in the top 10 per cent of most influential publications in their field as measured by citation impact, calculated fractionally.

This article originated from The Ring