Monday, September 05, 2011

The top philosophy departments in the world

.. . according to the QS World University Rankings here.

6 comments:

Blue said...

Methodology is here: http://goo.gl/69BmQ

However looking at some of the nooks and crannies of the date, by for example sorting the rankings by country and then citation (by copying the table into spreadsheet) and looking closely makes me think there are a lot of errors.

For example looking at only French language Canadian schools the Université du Québec has a citation rate of 72.1% (putting it in the top 20 depts in the world by citation) while the Université de Montréal has a 5%. This makes almost no sense as the Université du Québec is a system of comprehensive 4 year campuses and the Université de Montréal is a top research university. (Not to disparage the faculty at U du Q schools, some of their campuses have some great philosophers.)

It looks like the data may have been massaged, but only to fit common prejudices, i.e. you collect bad data then weigh it so that the top 50 look right.

The Brooks Blog said...

But why think the numbers are inaccurate re: citations? High citations is simply an empirical indicator: it is not an accurate indication of quality (in my experience). It may well be that a department has better quality (but fewer citations) than another. Of course, there are a number of debates concerning the place and importance of metrics. More on this in a future post soon....

Blue said...

Looking at the citation methodology the index is of % of members with papers that have citations over 10. Which is a pretty high bar for philosophy no matter the quality of the journal.

In the case above of the two universities I compared 71% of faculty with a paper with 10 citation (versus 5%) indicates that at least that 71% are publishing... which (knowing the schools involved) is not true.

It is highly unlikely that a university which has 10 campuses and most of which are primarily only teaching schools and whose faculty hence do not do much if any research would have 71% rate of citations over 10. (Note that on at least three of the campuses there are researchers in Philosophy).

It just means that while they may have double checked that names and citations matched up for some of the big schools they likely blew it of for those they did not assume would do well.

What else did they not double check?

The Brooks Blog said...

While this may be unlikely, the big question is whether it is accurate? I'm not certain the data is inaccurate although I haven't looked at the methodology too closely. Has anyone else commented on concerns re: the statistics used?

Neil said...

Have a look at the citation rates for the University of Ljubljana. 0. Nada. Rien. Null. Staff includes on S Zizek.

The Brooks Blog said...

This is a good point. I see also that the Catholic University of Louvain (home to van Parjis) is also noted at 0 citations. This seems odd and must check... Has anyone spotted comments elsewhere re: citations?