Ranking Monitor Reference


This ranking was previously published by Thomson Reuters, but following the acquisition of their intellectual property wing in 2017 by Clarivate Analytics, who still continue the ranking under the Reuters name.

Most Innovative

Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities – 2017

This ranking was previously published by Thomson Reuters, but following the acquisition of their intellectual property wing in 2017 by Clarivate Analytics, who still continue the ranking under the Reuters name.

In contrast with other rankings, the Clarivate Ranking does not focus on academic impact, but in patent and intellectual property production within a university. In this sense, it is a vital signpost for future rankings, which will feature an increasing amount of metrics for the entrepreneurial university, given the impacts that universities can generate both in terms of direct contribution to research and economic development, and for the development of knowledge based economies.

The ranking depends entirely on the use of Clarivate intellectual property products, and is financed exclusively by the company itself.

As the ranking is relatively new, now in its third year, and solid data collection practises for this type of activity are not widespread or well consolidated yet, especially where governmental agencies are not as well managed as they are in the United States or European Union, the ranking at present only counts the top 100 worldwide, with none of the São Paulo state universities charting.


Patent VolumeThe number of basic patents (patent families) filed by a university. This is an indication of research output that has a potential for commercial value. The number is limited only to those patents that are registered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This should be regarded as an indicator of ouput, not of impact. In that sense, it is analogous to the numbers of indexed papers that other rankings use.Derwent World Patents Index, Derwent World Innovations Index.
Patent SuccessThe ratio of successful patents to patent applications. This should avoid patent spamming.Derwent World Patents Index, Derwent World Innovations Index.
Global PatentsNumber of patents sought in US, European and Japanese patent offices. Because of the time and money required to do this, these patents are regarded as having serious commercial value.Derwent World Patents Index, Derwent World Innovations Index.
Patent CitationsThe total number of citations that an institution’s patents have acquired in other patents. When a patent is highly cited, it suggests that it has had a large effect on the field of technology in which it was granted.Patent Citation Index.
Patent Citation Impact (half weighted)Calculated by the number of patent citations per patent, and is therefore not size dependent.Patent Citation Index
Percentage of Patents cited (half weighted)The percentage of the total patents which has received a citationPatent citation index
Patent to Article Citation ImpactThe citation impact score from articles published in refereed journals. This points to the impact that basic research has on the development of new technologies.Patents Citation Index, Derwent World Patents Index, Web of Science Core Collection
Industry Article Citation ImpactThis is the citation impact score from Web of Science calculated only for the university’s output in collaboration with industry.Web of Science Core Collection
Percent of Industry Collaborative ArticlesThe total percentage of a university’s output that is published in conjunction with one or more non-academic partner.Web of Science Core Collection
Total Articles Indexed on Web of Science Core CollectionThe total number of papers cited on the Web of Science Core Collection attributed to the universityWeb of Science Core Collection

All of the indicators are equally weighted, with the exception of percentage of patents cited and patent citation impact, which were judged to closely linked to one another. Furthermore, they are the only two indicators which are size normalised. This means that the ranking should naturally privilege large universities over smaller institutions. This is because, like the Shanghai Jiao Tong, the aim of this ranking is to measure the impact that it has on the wider world, not on the quality of the institution itself.

Relevance to Brazilian universities

Any ranking such as this will be heavily dependent upon not just the human capital or creative capacity of the university, but also of the governance regime surrounding the university. In part, this is internal; the university’s own intellectual property policies, and research foundation incentives for carrying out collaboration in this sector. It is also heavily dependent on the national intellectual property regimes and environment; how easy is a patent application? How transferable are the technical standards from one IP regime to another? How long does an application take to be granted? This last question is especially important given the massive increase in the number of patent applications worldwide. For an American development, from first application to confirmation takes an average of 21 months, or a little under two years for full analysis and confirmation. For Brazil, the current backlog of patent applications signifies that the mean time for INPI to approve a patent is 11 years, or nearly six times as long. This will obviously have a major effect on the universities’ ability to position well in this ranking, regardless of the quality of its research.

Because of this, while this ranking shows an important function of universities, and represents an emerging tendency in higher education comparison that will only intensify over the coming years, care should be taken about drawing sweeping generalisations about universities’ positions within it, given how dependent this analysis is on intellectual property regimes.


It should be noted that while this ranking is quite comprehensive for patenting coming from the university, it does not take into account a range of phenomena that will become more important for universities to measure in the future. Because all information is taken from Clarivate’s own products, and does not have a data gathering capacity of its own, the creation of startups and spinoffs is not measured, neither are the number of jobs created as a result of this activity. There is also no mention of entrepreneurial infrastructure like science and technology parks or incubators.

Commercial and consultancy agreements with the private sector are not covered, meaning that indicators are limited largely to engineering and exact sciences, while appearance in public policy documents is also not covered, again due to the lack of established standard means of measuring this activity.


The following is a breakdown of the institutions in the 2017 edition of the ranking by country:

CountryNumber of Universities
South Korea8

This distribution is different to most of the other rankings monitored by this project. US institutions are predictably well-represented, but the United Kingdom has fewer institutions in the top 100 than in other rankings. South Korea, Japan, Germany and France all have more than would be typically expected. On a national level, China, Japan, Germany, Korea and Switzerland are the five countries with the highest number of patents per US$1billion of GDP, while the United Kingdom would appear in 16th place in the same ranking (source: Global Innovation Index 2017).