The Informatics Institute recently published its Universal Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) for subjects, listing the world’s top universities according to how they excel in various fields of study.
The ranking lists the top 1,000 universities in the world across 61 fields of study (some rankings are limited to top 500 or top 200, depending on how narrow the field is), with 13 South African universities ranked in 37 of them.
The University of Cape Town is by far the best-performing South African university, being ranked in 30 subjects. Three UCT subjects are ranked within the top 100 in the world, while more than half are within the top 200.
The University of Stellenbosch ranks second locally, with 23 subjects ranked among the top in the world, followed by Wits University and the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria all tied for third with 22 subjects.
However, Wits stands out for having one of the highest ranked subjects in the world – Anthropology, which is third out of the 1,000 universities assessed – as well as having the most subjects within the top 100 (four).
Other South African universities to make the URAP ranking include the University of Johannesburg (15 subjects), North-West University (11 subjects), the University of the Free State (6 subjects), the University of the Western Cape (4 subjects), Rhodes (3 Subjects) and Nelson Mandela University, the Tshwane University of Technology and Unisa with one subject each.
The key focus of the URAP is on academic performance, which is measured on six academic performance indicators.
Since URAP is an academic performance based ranking, publications constitute the basis of the ranking methodology, it said. Both quality and quantity of publications and international research collaboration performance are used as indicators.
The overall score of each university is based on its performance over several indicators, including current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality and international acceptance.