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Methodology of UNSW’s Aggregate Ranking Of Top Universities (ARTU)

The Aggregate Ranking of Top Universities (ARTU) is a league table based on the annual World University Rankings by Times Higher Education (THE) , Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). ARTU consolidates the performance of universities across the three rankings to accommodate for performance variations due to methodological differences between these rankings, and thereby facilitates the longitudinal comparison of overall performance for the top universities in the world.

The indicator used to determine a university’s ARTU rank is the sum of its rank from each of the three rankings. It has been chosen over the arithmetic average as an indicator better suited to describe the overall performance of an institution across THE, QS, and ARWU, where the institution is compared to a different group of peers from one ranking to another. The ARTU rank of an institution is less sensitive to the anomalies in the performance of any one ranking, thus providing a more realistic position of a university in comparison to its peers.

For the 2020 edition of ARTU, the results of World University Rankings published by THE, QS, and ARWU in the 2020 calendar year were utilised*. For universities whose rank is published as a range in THE and ARWU (e.g. 101-150), ARTU recalculates a distinct rank from the respective component scores. This recalculation process enables ARTU to consider all universities ranked by THE and ARWU, and those ranked within the Top 500 of QS. Universities ranked above 500 by QS are not considered by ARTU due to the limited availability of data on component scores.

To disambiguate universities with more than one name variation across the rankings, a matching algorithm was applied followed by a manual review process. For the 2020 release, there were 2,416 university name variations mapped to 1,886 unique universities.

Following data preparation and name disambiguation, the processed ranking datasets are consolidated and the arithmetic sum for all universities ranked in THE & ARWU, and top ranked universities in QS is calculated. In 2020, the Top 400 universities based on this indicator are then published in ARTU.


  •   • QS 2021 World University Ranking released June 2020
  •   • ARWU 2020 World University Ranking released August 2020
  •   • THE 2021 World University Ranking released September 2020