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“In the case of Panjab University - a new entrant to the tables this year thanks to it providing data to us for the first time - it has received an extremely impressive score for citation impact,” said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings.
“Panjab also outperforms the IITs in its score for international outlook, which means it is attracting international students and staff, and collaborating with academics from across the globe more so than the IITs. All of this has contributed to Panjab University’s fantastic ranking position as number 1 in India - an achievement in real terms,” Baty told The Indian Express by email.
Baty also brushed aside the contention that IITs being smaller, specialist institutes may have suffered in the ranking process. He said the rankings are designed specifically to recognise excellence at all levels, regardless of the size of an institution.
Vice Chancellor Grover, however, is quick to set aside any comparison with the IITs.
“This is a futile comparison. Panjab University cannot compete with IITs in science & technology just as IITs cannot be compared with say Indian Institute of Science,” Grover said.
Nevertheless, PU overtaking the IITs, has come as a surprise.
Prof Pradipta Banerjee, director of IIT-Roorkee, said he was also ‘quite surprised’ and added that the IIT has been scoring high on research and citations.
“Having said that, it must be considered that in terms of research funding, perception management and so on, we do lag behind. While the IITs will possibly do much better if you compare hard data, on softer criteria like reputation/perception, we usually fall behind and this may need to be corrected,” Banerjee said.