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Just how did Panjab University sprint ahead of the elite IITs in the latest round of the Times Higher Education (THE) Rankings 2013-14? A close analysis of the rankings shows Panjab University made it to the 226-250 mark chiefly on the strength of its impressive research citation record.
It has also emerged that it was one of Panjab University’s most high-profile alumni — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who urged his alma mater to participate in the rankings.
Prof Arun K Grover, vice chancellor of Panjab University, said that while the university has been scoring high on research for a few years now, it was coaxed into participating in the rankings this time.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, higher education secretary in the union HRD ministry, Ashok Thakur, and higher education advisor in the Planning Commission, Pawan Agarwal, particularly wanted us to take part and so we did,” Grover told The Indian Express.
“The fact is that if the other universities in the country had the courage to pick up the proforma and send it to the rankings, we would have had at least 8-9 Indian institutes among the top 400.”
Citation record or citation impact refers to how widely the university’s research is being used and valued by the academic community around the world. Here, PU had a citation score of 84.7 while IIT-Kharagpur scored just 35.3, IIT-Kanpur 41.8, IIT-Delhi 38.5 and IIT-Roorkee 53.6.
Panjab University also did much better than the IITs on the ‘international outlook’ parameter, scoring 29.3 while the IITs had scores between 14.7 and 15.6.
That IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Delhi did not share their data on ‘industry outcome’ also hit their rankings. On teaching though, the three IITs in Delhi, Kharagpur and Kanpur did better than Panjab University.
Citation impact (normalized average citations per paper), research and international outlook together hold over 67 per cent weightage in determining the rankings. Teaching and industry outcome have 30 per cent and 2.5 per cent weightage respectively. In all, 21 Indian institutes participated in the THE rankings and only five of them made it, with Panjab University at the top.
Panjab University, incidentally, is no dark horse. While PU has not captured public imagination the way the universities of Delhi, Hyderabad or Pune have, it is a clear frontrunner when it comes