Webometrics : Objective

  • Objectives

    Objectives of the Webometrics Ranking of World's Universities

    1. The original aim of the Ranking was to promote Web publication. Supporting Open Access initiatives, electronic access to scientific publications and to other academic material are our primary targets. However web indicators are very useful for ranking purposes too as they are not based on number of visits or page design but on the global performance and visibility of the universities.

    2. As other rankings focused only on a few relevant aspects, specially research results, web indicators based ranking reflects better the whole picture, as many other activities of professors and researchers are showed by their web presence.

    3. The Web covers not only only formal (e-journals, repositories) but also informal scholarly communication. Web publication is cheaper, maintaining the high standards of quality of peer review processes. It could also reach much larger potential audiences, offering access to scientific knowledge to researchers and institutions located in developing countries and also to third parties (economic, industrial, political or cultural stakeholders) in their own community.

    4. The Webometrics ranking has a larger coverage than other similar rankings (see table below). The ranking is not only focused on research results but also in other indicators which may reflect better the global quality of the scholar and research institutions worldwide.

    5. We intend to motivate both institutions and scholars to have a web presence that reflect accurately their activities. If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases of the volume and quality of their electronic publications.

    6. Candidate students should use additional criteria if they are trying to choose university. webometrics Ranking correlates well with quality of education provided and academic prestige, but other non-academic variables need to be taken into account.

    More info:

    • Aguillo, IF; Bar-Ilan, J; Levene, M. Ortega, JL (2010). Comparing university rankings. Scientometrics, 85:243–256
    • Aguillo, IF; Ortega, JL; Fernández, M; Utrilla, A.M. (2010). Indicators for a webometric ranking of open access repositories. Scientometrics, 82(3):477–486
    • Aguillo, I.F.; Ortega, J. L. & Fernández, M. (2008). Webometric Ranking of World Universities: Introduction, Methodology, and Future Developments. Higher Education in Europe, 33(2/3): 234-244.
    • Ortega, J. L., Aguillo, I. F. (2009). Mapping World-class universities on the Web. Information Processing & Management, 45(2): 272-279
    • Aguillo, I. F.; Granadino, B.; Ortega, J. L.; Prieto, J. A. (2006). Scientific research activity and communication measured with cybermetric indicators. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 57(10): 1296-1302
    • Aguillo, I. F.; Granadino, B.; Ortega, J.L. & Prieto, J.A. (2005). What the Internet says about Science. The Scientist, 19(14):10
  • Methodology

    Important info. Read this first:

    1.  The Ranking Web is not a ranking of the websites of Universities, it is a Ranking of Universities. It uses both webometric (all missions) and bibliometric (research mission)  indicators

    2. The primary objective of the Ranking Web is to promote Open Access to the knowledge generated by the University. Best strategy to improve your rank is to increase quantity and quality of your webcontents

    3. Ranking Web started in 2004 (current is the 18th year of publication) with the aim of offer full coverage of Higher Education Institutons whatever the country or discipline involve. Currently we ranked 31 000 HEIs from more than 200 countries

    4. Editors of the Ranking Web are scientists working at one world-class public research institution with long experience in metrics-guided evaluation

    5. The Ranking Web or Webometrics is the largest academic ranking of Higher Education Institutions offering every six months an independent, objective, free, open scientific exercise for providing reliable, multidimensional, updated and useful information about the performance of universities from all over the world

    6. It follows the general introduction to the ranking methodology. However, this is a research project and we change the methodology according to new findings or the availability of sources. If you find discrepancies, please refer to the most updated info that is usually included in the introduction to each new edition.

    Objectives and motivation

    • The original aim of the Ranking is to promote academic web presence, supporting the Open Access initiatives for increasing significantly the transfer of scientific and cultural knowledge generated by the universities to the whole Society. In order to achieve this objective, the publication of rankings is one of the most powerful and successful tools for starting and consolidating the processes of change in the academia, increasing the scholars’ commitment and setting up badly needed long term strategies

    • The objective is not to evaluate websites, their design or usability or the popularity of their contents according to the number of visits or visitors. Web indicators are considered as proxies in the correct, comprehensive, deep evaluation of the university global performance, taking into account its activities and outputs and their relevance and impact.

    • At the end a reliable rank is only possible if the web presence is a trustworthy mirror of the university. In the second decade of the 21st century the Web is key for the future of all the university missions, as it is already the most important scholarly communication tool, the future channel for the off-campus distance learning, the open forum for the community engagement and the universal showcase for attracting talent, funding and resources.


    calculation 2022


  • Best Practices

    Decalogue of good practices in institutional web positioning

    The following recommendations are intended to help Universities and R&D institutions worldwide to have an adequate web presence. Institutional websites should accurately represent their resources, activities and global performance, providing visitors with a clear vision of the institution. We encourage institutions to engage in medium and long term web presence projects that give priority to the publication of large volume of quality contents under Open Access type models.

    We disapprove strongly the use of abusive positioning techniques that can generate misleading indicators. If we suspect an institution of engaging in such activities, we will give a warning, and then the involved institution will be expelled from the Ranking.

    1. URL naming

    Each institution should choose a unique institutional domain that can be used by all the websites of the institution. We sugest well known acronyms and if it is possible full words describing the city, the state or other descriptive items.

    It is very important to avoid changing the institutional domain as it can generate confusion and it has a devastating effect on the visibility values. The alternative or mirror domains should be disregarded even when they redirect to the preferred one.

    Today it is very easy and cheap to rent a service for hosting your webpages. If you are unable for technical, political or economic reasons to build your own web service we suggest contacting foreign providers that can also guarantee worldwide access.

    Reliable and independent information about web hosting services.

    2. Contents: Create

    A large web presence is made possible only with the efforts of a large group of authors. The best way to do this is to encourage and support a large number of your scholars, researchers or graduate students as potential authors.

    A distributed system of authoring can be operative at several levels:

     Central organisation can be responsible for the design guidelines and institutional information

     Libraries, documentation centres and similar services can be responsible for large databases that includes bibliographic ones, but also large repositories (thesis, pre-prints, and reports)

     Individual persons or teams should maintain their own websites, enriching them with self archiving practices.

    Hosting external resources can be interesting for third parties and increase the visibility: Conference websites, software repositories, scientific societies and their publications, especially electronic journals.

    3. Contents: Convert

    Important resources are available in non electronic format that can be converted to web pages easily. Most of the universities have a long record of activities that can be published in historical web sites.

    Other resources are also candidate for conversion, including past activities, reports or pictures collections.

    4. Interlinking

    The Web is a hypertextual corpus with links connecting pages. If your contents are not known (bad design, limited information, or minority language), there are not enough pages or they have low quality, the site probably will receive very few links from other sites.

    Measuring and classifying the links from others can be insightful. You should expect links from your "natural" partners: Institutions from your locality or region, web directories from similar organisations, portals covering your topics, colleagues or partners personal pages. Your pages should make an impact in your common language community.

    Check for the orphaned pages, i.e. pages not linked from another.

    5. Language, especially English

    The Web audience is truly global, so you should not think locally. Language versions, especially in English, are mandatory not only for the main pages, but for selected sections and specially from scientific documents.

    6. Rich and media files

    Although HTML is the standard format of web pages, sometimes it is better to use rich file formats like Adobe Acrobat pdf or MS Word doc as they allow a better distribution of documents. PostScript is a popular format in certain areas (physics, engineering, mathematics) but it can be difficult to open, so it is recommended to provide an alternative version in pdf format.

    Bandwidth is growing exponentially, so it is a good investment to archive all media materials produced in web repositories. Collections of videos, interviews, presentations, animated graphs, and even digital pictures could be very useful in the long term.

    7. Search engine friendly designs

    Avoid cumbersome navigation menus based on Flash, Java or JavaScript that can block the robot access.
    Deep nested directories or complex interlinking can block robots too.

    Databases and even highly dynamic pages can be invisible for some search engines, so use directories or static pages instead or as an option.

    There are several large collections of tricks and advices that can be useful.

    8. Popularity and statistics

    Number of visits is important, but it as much as important to monitor their origin, distribution and the causes why they reach your web sites. Most of the current log analysers offer a great diversity of tables and graphs showing relevant demographic and geographic data, but make sure there is an option to show the referrers, the web pages from which the visit arrives or the search term or phrase used if the visit came from a search engine. Most popular pages or directories are also relevant.

    Consider Google Analytics

    9. Archiving and persistence

    Maintainin a copy of old or outdated material in the site should be mandatory. Sometimes relevant information is lost when the site is redesigned or simply updated and there is no way to recover easily the vanished pages.

    10. Standards for enriching sites

    The use of meaningful titles and descriptive metatags can increase the visibility of the pages. There are some standards like Dublin Core that can be used to add authoring info, keywords and other data about the web sites.

    Check the Dublin Core portal

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