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### 2024 Latin America University Rankings: Methodology Updates

Latin America stands out as a highly dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape in the realm of higher education. In 2016, Times Higher Education introduced its inaugural ranking, featuring 50 universities from the region. Over time, this number has seen a significant surge, reaching close to 200 universities by 2023. Moreover, the count of countries represented in the rankings has expanded from seven to 15.

This year, the methodology will undergo a refresh to better evaluate the increasingly diverse array of universities. Numerous components in the updated methodology remain consistent with the previous approach. The rankings will still be structured around the same five pillars, each assigned weights that align closely with past years. However, some pillars will undergo name changes to more accurately capture their essence. The five pillars will now be referred to as:

  • Teaching
  • Research environment (formerly known as Research)
  • Research quality (previously labeled Citations)
  • Industry (formerly denoted as Industry income)
  • International outlook

The primary alteration lies in the assessment of research quality. Previously, a single metric (citation impact) was utilized. This metric was based on the average field-weighted citation impact (FWCI) of all publications from a university. While widely accepted and understood, this metric possesses a notable drawback – its volatility, especially evident for universities with limited publication output. This volatility disproportionately impacts Latin America due to many universities in the region still in the process of enhancing their research capabilities.

This year, citation impact will be replaced with three distinct metrics:

  • Research strength (representing the 75th percentile of a university’s publication FWCI)
  • Research excellence (indicating the number of university publications within the global top 10% by FWCI)
  • Research influence (evaluating a university’s influence through a citation graph analysis)

Furthermore, the industry pillar will undergo revision. A new patents metric will be introduced to gauge the number of patents referencing a university’s research output, offering fresh insights into knowledge dissemination from academia to society at large.

Another modification pertains to the evaluation of international outlook, which will now consider a country’s population size when calculating international metrics.

The rankings will continue to rely on three primary data sources: direct university submissions via the data collection portal, bibliometric data from partner Elsevier, and an academic reputation survey.

Starting from 2022, the academic reputation survey has been internally conducted to enhance control over survey responses’ quality and quantity. The number of votes allocated to Latin American universities has seen growth, surpassing 7,100 in 2022 and nearing 8,700 in 2023, with an upward trajectory anticipated.

The updated methodology is poised to offer deeper insights into regional universities, aiding them in tracking progress towards their objectives. We eagerly anticipate discussing these advancements with you at the upcoming event in Ecuador this June.

Billy Wong holds the role of principal data scientist at Times Higher Education.