We are delighted to announce the release of the 14th edition of the Round University Ranking (RUR), an international university ranking, on May 25, 2025. This edition marks a substantial increase in the number of participating universities. Whereas slightly over 1000 universities participated in 2022, the current year boasts an increased participation of over 1200 universities. We extend our sincere appreciation to the universities for their active collaboration and engagement.
Significant changes have been implemented in both the data sources utilized for the ranking and the methodology employed this year. Please see the overview of these changes below.
Changes in data sources
1. Bibliometric data sources
We have adopted the esteemed open platform, The Lens, as our primary source for bibliometric data. The platform employed in this process operates in an open manner, enabling each university to monitor its publication activity and receive a comprehensive report containing a list of all publications considered. We firmly believe that the transparency of this system represents a crucial milestone in fostering more transparent communication between the ranking provider and universities.
2. Reputation data sources
To capture a more comprehensive picture, we have replaced the academic reputation survey data with a broader array of information sourced from across the Internet. This adjustment acknowledges the significant transformation in how universities engage with their key stakeholders since the inception of the RUR ranking in the early 2010s. We firmly believe that relying solely on input from academic experts no longer suffices in depicting the extent of a university's societal interactions and its influential role in disseminating information.
3. Institutional data sources
Regarding university statistics, such as the number of faculty members, students, and other relevant data, we have transitioned to utilizing our proprietary platform called "RUR Data" for data collection purposes. This shift enables us to establish and maintain efficient communication channels with universities, swiftly update university profiles, and engage in other necessary interactions. Simultaneously, a portion of the data pertaining to certain universities was gathered from publicly accessible sources.
Changes in the ranking methodology
Throughout its entire duration, the methodology employed by the Round University Ranking has remained consistent. It involves a unified framework consisting of 20 distinct indicators, which are further categorized into four key areas that encompass various aspects of university performance. This comprehensive approach allows for a comprehensive evaluation of university activities. Additionally, the methodology employs equal weighting coefficients (8% for Teaching & Research and 2% for International Diversity & Financial Sustainability), which mitigates the potential bias that may arise when a few indicators overshadow a significant portion of the others.
The fundamental structure of the ranking methodology described above has been retained without significant alterations and at the same time taking into consideration the evolving data landscape, we have replaced certain indicators while preserving their respective weight coefficients and positions within the esteemed RUR indicator system:
Teaching Indicators Group
New Indicator: Online visibility
The indicator previously labeled as "World teaching reputation" has been substituted with "Online visibility." This indicator effectively gauges the university's prominence and the frequency with which users access its resources via the globally recognized Google search engine.
- The Google search engine was used to determine the total number of mentions of the university over a span of five years, specifically from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2022.
- To ensure thoroughness, we examined all possible variations of the university name, including both English and national language versions. This encompassed checking abbreviations, abbreviated forms, as well as informal names. Our priority was to consider the name that generated the highest number of Google Search results.
Research Indicators Group
New Indicator: Social media visibility
The indicator previously denoted as "World research reputation" has now been transformed into “Social media visibility". This indicator specifically evaluates the university's level of engagement with its audience across key social media platforms.
- The data collection process involves utilizing various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, and, if applicable, other national platforms. Only official university accounts managed by university staff are taken into consideration.
- When selecting university information resources, we took into account the language preference of the largest number of subscribers. For instance, if the university had more followers on Facebook in the national language compared to English, we relied on the account in the national language.
- The total number of subscribers across the university's social media accounts was taken into account.
New Indicator: Share of graduate degrees awarded
- The indicator formerly known as "Doctoral degrees awarded" has been revamped as "Share of graduate degrees awarded." Through this modification, we now assess the proportion of graduate-level degrees (including master's and PhD degrees) among the overall number of graduates.
- In order to accomplish this, the total number of graduates at the Master's level and PhD level is divided by the aggregate number of graduates across all three tiers of higher education, which include Undergraduate, Master's, and PhD degrees.
Remote Indicator: Doctoral degrees awarded per admitted PhD
- This indicator has been developed with the aim of assessing the efficacy of doctoral-level programs. To accomplish this, we have employed a methodology that involves dividing the number of doctoral degrees conferred by the number of accepted PhD-level students during the designated reporting period. Through this approach, we indirectly gauge the potential impact of the university on global scientific advancements, as it is widely acknowledged that PhD students often form a significant portion of the research and academic workforce. The novel aspect introduced by the new indicator, "Share of graduate degrees awarded," lies in its ability to evaluate not only the university's contribution to the future of academia, but also its influence on the labor market for highly skilled professionals.
International Diversity Indicators Group
New Indicator: New Media Impact
- This particular metric closely resembles "social media visibility" and represents the average number of subscribers to a university's social media resources. On the other hand, the latter metric summarizes the total number of subscribers across all resources.
- As one can observe, these new three indicators, which replace the previous one based on a limited academic reputation survey, are now based on data generated by the global adult population with internet access. We firmly believe that this data is far more valuable and will enable the evaluation of universities' reputation and their influence on society in a more balanced manner, leveraging considerably comprehensive data sources compared to before.
Financial Sustainability Indicators Group:
Remote Indicator: Papers per academic and research staff
- This indicator has been eliminated due to producing anomalous results. It tended to favor universities with a limited number of academic publications but a relatively large research budget.
New Indicator: Level of financial sustainability
- • This is a novel indicator that provides the arithmetic average of four other indicators
Anticipated upgrades for the year 2023
Our intention is to undergo a transformation of the Round University Ranking, transitioning it from being an exceptional rating and analytical product to a platform that caters more specifically to the interests of prospective students and their parents. To accomplish this, we have outlined the following planned updates:
- In addition to the existing 1,200 universities already encompassed within this year's ranking, we aim to incorporate an additional 500 to 800 university profiles of institutions that, due to various reasons, do not partake in the ranking process but hold significance within the national, regional, and global education markets. Consequently, a substantial portion of these profiles will serve a purely informational purpose, as these universities will not be included in the ranking itself, yet their profiles will be accessible through our portal.
- We aspire to broaden the scope of information provided within university profiles by including pertinent details for prospective applicants and students, such as the availability or non-availability of student accommodations, tuition fees, scholarship opportunities, etc.
- The implementation of these updates will occur in a phased manner. Initially, we will introduce profiles for unrated universities, featuring minimal information. Subsequently, in the second stage, we will enhance the university profiles by incorporating data that holds relevance for students and applicants.
The Round University Ranking Team