Commentary Education

Czech universities perform well in world rankings

Seven Czech universities have made it into the ARWU ranking of the 1,000 most prestigious universities in the world.

Universities from the US – Harvard and Stanford – continue to dominate the prestigious ARWU ranking. In addition to eight American universities, two British schools made it to the top ten - Cambridge University ranked third, and the University of Oxford ranked seventh. Among the thousand of evaluated institutions there are seven Czech universities on the list.

Among the Czech schools, Charles University has been the leader of the ARWU ranking since 2003, when the so-called Shanghai ranking was established. For 17 years it has been ranking between the 201st and 350th place and until 2017, when the list had been expanded from the original 500 to 800, it was the only Czech representative in the ranking.

Two years ago, Czech Technical University, Masaryk University in Brno and Palacký University of Olomouc joined the ARWU list as well, each ranking on the shared 601st to 700th position. Last year and this year the ranking was extended by another 200 positions to the total of a thousand institutions being evaluated, newly including Prague's Czech University of Life Sciences, the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and Prague´s University of Chemistry and Technology. They all shared the 901st to 1,000th place position.

The so-called Shanghai ranking focuses primarily on the scientific and research level of the institutions. It uses six indicators to evaluate the universities, including the number of articles published in Nature and Science. It also tracks the number of most cited scientists in the Highly Cited Researchers database and the number of Nobel Prize winners associated with the institution.

According to the survey, Czech universities succeeded thanks to articles published in prestigious journals. The reason why Czech universities earn points mainly in this sector is simple - they have no or almost no Nobel Prize winners, to whom the ARWU ranking attaches great importance.

In addition to the ARWU ranking, there are at least two more globally recognized rankings of the best universities - QS (by Quacquarelli Symonds Limited) and THE (by the British weekly Times Higher Education). From the Czech Republic, Charles University is the best in both of these, ranking 401st to 500th in the THE ranking and 291st in the QS ranking.

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