Vietnamese universities achieve another global ranking breakthrough

By Minh Nga   October 27, 2019 | 05:14 am PT
Vietnamese universities achieve another global ranking breakthrough
Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City seen from above. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Two universities have become the first ever in Vietnam to be listed in the Best Global Universities Rankings by the U.S. News & World Report.

Vietnam National University-Hanoi and Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City are placed 1,059th and 1,176th, respectively, in the 2020 edition of the rankings, which evaluates 1,500 schools, up from 1,250 last year, on academic research and reputation.

The Best Global Universities Rankings released by the U.S. News & World Report is considered the most comprehensive assessment of research universities worldwide.

The magazine first creates a pool of 1,599 universities across 81 countries, up from 75 countries last year, before ranking the top 1,500 schools. For the 2020 rankings, Ton Duc Thang University in HCMC also made it to that pool.

Now in its sixth year, the annual overall ranking has the top ten schools in either the U.S. or the U.K.

Harvard University remains at No.1, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. The University of Oxford rounds out the top five.

On the regional scale, VNU Hanoi and VNU HCMC secure the spot of 275th and 322nd in Asia, which is led by National University of Singapore, Tsinghua University in China, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

To create the pool of 1,599, U.S. News first included the top 250 universities in the results of U.S.-based Clarivate Analytics' global reputation survey, which asked respondents to give their views of programs in the disciplines with which they were familiar, allowing respondents to rate universities at the field and department level, rather than at the institution level, creating a more specific and accurate measurement of a university's reputation as a whole.

Then the magazine added institutions that had met the minimum threshold of at least 1,500 papers published from 2013 to 2017. Next, it removed duplicates and institutions that are not schools to reach the final 2020 ranking pool of 1,599 institutions.

The second step was to calculate the rankings using 13 indicators: global research reputation; regional research reputation; publications, books, conferences; normalized citation impact; total citations; number of publications that are among the ten percent most cited; percentage of total publications that are among the ten percent most cited; international collaboration; percentage of total publications with international collaboration; number of highly cited papers that are among the top one percent most cited in their respective field; and percentage of total publications that are among the top one percent most highly cited papers.

The U.S. has the most universities in the overall ranking with 249, followed by China with 188, the U.K., 86, Japan, 82 and Germany, 66.

"Many prospective students are looking to other countries for their education," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News.

"The Best Global Universities rankings give these students a starting point for their search. In addition to the rankings, students should also consider their fluency in the language of instruction, the fields of study that the school offers and the costs that come from studying in another country," she said.

In September, VNU Hanoi and VNU HCMC were two of the first three Vietnamese entering the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, a British provider of higher education data.

Last year, they were among seven Vietnamese universities that broke into the list of 500 best universities in Asia compiled by Britain's QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

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