Ranking Web of Universities


The Webometrics Ranking has been built and maintained since 2004, and runs on a six monthly, rather than annual, publication cycle. Instead of seeking to represent the university itself, the Webometrics ranking is a measure of the online impact and profile of an institution. As it is a Spanish venture, we can see clear influence of the Iberoamerican policymaking priorities set out in the Havana Convention of treating knowledge as a public good. The Webometrics ranking represents how well a university shares the knowledge it creates with the wider world, and was designed as a tool to support Open Access Initiatives.

It is also different in that instead of only representing the global elite, it assesses all universities.

Whereas the other rankings assess impact in terms of formal citation analysis, Webometrics uses link analisys for quality evaluation. This means that it captures a wide variety of knowledge transfer activity outside of formal scholarly communication; interaction with third parties, governments, participation in events and extension activities.

The Webometrics ranking is log-normalized, and the metrics are divided equally between activity/presence and visibility/impact in the indicators. Using a log-normal normalization means that representation of numbers carries down to a much lower level than z-scores favoured by ARWU, Times Higher etc., with the consequence that the institutions appear more ‘bunched together’, but it does mean that scores of zero or near zero are much less common than for other composite rankings.

For the scholarly impact metrics, the Webometrics relies on Google Scholar rather than Scopus or Web of Science. Google Scholar takes much more open access and less traditional avenues into account, such as preprint forums like ArXiv, meaning that the reach is theoretically much larger, although bibliometric comparisons show that it tend to be less detailed and comprehensive than either Scopus or Web of Science.

Compilation and financing

The ranking was conceived and compiled by the Cybermetrics lab of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). As such, it is fully public, open and non-commercial. As such, it is more concerned with the spread of good online practices of universities than generating large headlines.

Area Metric Weighting Source
PRESENCE Size (number of pages) of the main webdomain of the institution. It includes all the subdomains. 5% Google
VISIBILITY Number of external networks (subnets) originating backlinks to institutional webpagesAfter normalization, the maximum value between the two sources is selected 50% Ahrefs and Majestic backlink checkers: these programs are commonly used for SEO optimization.
OPENNESS Number of citations from Top authors according to the source But see Transparent Ranking for additional info 10% Google Scholar Citations
EXCELLENCE Number of papers amongst the top 10% most cited in 26 disciplines for the five year period (2011-2015) 35% Scimago