You are here

Methodology
Learn more about the

QS Latin America University Rankings 2018.

Nearly 400 universities are included in this year’s ranking, with Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) in first place, up two places on last year. Last year’s number one university in Latin America, Universidade de São Paulo has slipped to third, while the second-best university Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) is a non-mover.

83 Brazilian universities are featured in total in this year’s ranking, more than any other country. The next best-represented nations are Mexico (65), Colombia (53) and Chile (40). At the other end of the scale is Nicaragua, with just three universities included this year. For a more in-depth look at this year’s Latin America University Rankings results, download our free supplement, available here.

Want to share your thoughts on this year’s ranking? Tweet us @TopUnis.

The regional ranking uses five basic criteria: research impact and productivity, teaching commitment, employability, online impact and, since the 2016/17 edition, internationalization. The method retains key indicators of the global ranking, such as Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, and Faculty to Student Ratio, but also considers a set of performance metrics carefully tailored for the region. Thus, universities are evaluated according to the following metrics:

Academic Reputation (30%)

Taken from the annual survey conducted by QS designed to evaluate the perceptions of academics from around the world regarding teaching and research quality at the best universities. In doing so, it has grown to become the world’s largest survey of academic opinion, and, in terms of size and scope, is an unparalleled means of measuring sentiment in the academic community. This year, over 70,000 responses were recorded globally.

Employer Reputation (20%)

The Employer Reputation metric is based on over 30,000 responses to the QS Employer Survey, and asks employers to identify those institutions from which they source the most competent, innovative, effective graduates. The QS Employer Survey is also the world’s largest of its kind. Previously, international responses were weighted at 70%, with domestic responses contributing 30% of the total score for this metric. This has been changed this year: international and domestic responses contribute 50% each to an institution’s final score.

Faculty to Student Ratio (10%)

This is the ratio between the number of academic staff and number of students. A higher number of teachers per student is an indirect indicator of the commitment of the institutions to high-quality teaching.

Staff with PhD (10%)

This indicator attempts to assess the quality of training of the academic staff, detecting the proportion of them that have reached the highest level of education in their area of expertise.

This is an indirect measure of the commitment of universities to high-quality teaching and research.

Papers per Faculty (5%)

This indicator seeks to determine the average number of scientific publications (papers) produced per faculty and evaluates the research productivity of the institutions. The data is extracted from Scopus (www.scopus.com). Indexed papers of five full years are used (from 2011 to 2015 for the 2018 edition). The paper count is normalized, ensuring that citations achieved in each of the five broad faculty areas are weighted equally.

Citations per Paper (10%)

This ratio measures the average number of citations obtained per publication, and is an estimate of the impact and quality of the scientific work done by universities. Data indexed by Scopus is also used. To avoid anomalous results, only the institutions producing more than 150 papers in the last five years are evaluated.

The paper and citation counts are normalized, ensuring that citations achieved in each of the five broad faculty areas are weighted equally.

For this edition, whilst the five-year publication period has been retained, the citation period for those papers has been extended to six years. Specifically, for the QS Latin America University Rankings 2018 those citations attracted in the 2011-2016 period by those papers indexed in Scopus with publication dates between 2011 and 2015 were counted.

Web Impact (5%)

This indicator seeks to assess the effectiveness with which institutions are making use of new technologies. Baseline information is provided by the Ranking Web of Universities (www.webometrics.info), although the results are refactored to exclude the Excellence indicator, which is already considered in the metrics related to scientific research.

International Research Network (10%)

Introduced for the first time in 2016/17 edition, this indicator assesses the degree of international openness in terms of research activity for each evaluated institution. To calculate this indicator the Simpson's Diversity Index, a widely used metric in the environmental sciences, has been adapted to estimate the probability that any two randomly selected international research partners for a given institution belong to different countries. The intention is to detect those institutions with a richer and more evenly distributed international links.

This metric considers those international peer institutions collaborating in one or more papers indexed by Scopus in a five-year period (2011 to 2015 for the 2018 edition).

QS Staff Writer's profile image
Written by QS Staff Writer

See related categories:

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

1 Comment

Two suggestions:

They could include extension activities.

And also give more importance to employability than academic reputation.

Thank you.

WANT TO STUDY IN LATIN AMERICA?
See Country Guides

Want more detail?

Get indepth info