U of G Makes Top Five for Social Sciences, Humanities

September 04, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph has placed fifth overall for social sciences and humanities in a new national academic research ranking report by Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA). In all, 61 universities appear in the report. This is the first ranking in Canada whose results account for institutional size.

Rankings of disciplines under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) fall into two groups: science, and social sciences and humanities.

“The results are extremely good and, as noted in the report, surprising to HESA since Guelph is better known as a science university,” said Kevin Hall, U of G vice-president (research). “Ranking fifth overall in the country for social sciences and humanities is yet another feather in our cap and reflects the quality of research and the dedication and skills of our researchers at the University of Guelph. The results also show the University performs very well in science, with excellent normalized funding.”

HESA evaluated bibliometric data through the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (H-Indices) — a measure of the size of organizations in relation to the industry and an indicator of the amount of competition among them — and normalized funding. Bibliometrics is a set of methods to quantitatively analyze scientific and technological literature and has been in use for some 60 years. According to HESA, bibliometrics help answer the question “which groups of scholars have greater research output?” and provide the kind of data that has led to an explosion of international university rankings.

The rankings also field-normalize all results by discipline; medicine is excluded. Institutions’ current research strength through granting council award data is assessed. HESA measures the depth of their academic capital through use of the H-Indices. In both cases, the national average of grants and H-Indices in every discipline is determined, then each individual researcher’s and department’s scores are adjusted to be a function of that average.

HESA also distinguishes between performance in SSHRC-funded disciplines and in NSERC-funded disciplines to better examine strengths and weaknesses in each.

“It’s interesting that the University of Guelph did so well beyond science,” said Alex Usher, president of HESA and editor-in-chief of the Global Higher Education Strategy Monitor.

“If you get rid of certain biases, you see which universities have the brightest and best. That’s the point of what we do — to show exactly those kinds of results. We found some gems among Canadian universities, and the U of G certainly is one.”

HESA is a Toronto-based firm specializing in research, data and strategy and offering a broad range of informational, analytical, evaluative and advisory services.

Measuring Academic Research in Canada: Field-Normalized Academic Rankings 2012 is available online.

Kevin Hall
Vice-President (Research)
University of Guelph
519-824-4120, Ext. 53081

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1