Activity Details

Task Force on Academic Ranking Index of World Universities

(Announcement) KAKENHI research project: Basic Research to identify metrics to analyze research performance (by subject area and by university characteristics) and to visualize university research performance

The research team headed by Dr. Amane Koizumi of National Institutes of Natural Sciences is starting a study to develop methodologies to visualize universities' and other research institutes' research performances using objective metrics, as KAKENHI’s special research promotion funding project. The term is two (2) years from 2016 to 2017.

Recently, the “rank” of world university rankings published by various ranking agencies has been a hot topic, and the Japanese universities’ drop in rankings is seen as an issue. However, the research metrics used in rankings have their own limitations. It is especially doubtful whether the rank itself can objectively capture and analyze universities’ research performance, inviting many criticisms.

Under such circumstances, “metrics to analyze research performance and activities of academic researches” were discussed on May 31, 2016 at an Academic Subcommittee meeting of the Council for Science and Technology of the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology). The topics include (1) how to actually use research performance metrics specified in the Science and Technology Basic Plan set force in January 2016, (2) how to properly evaluate research performance by taking differences in universities’ characteristics such as different functions and subject areas into account, (3) importance of considering the possibility of developing metrics that can comprehensively analyze research positioning and competitiveness in the world, and (4) the necessity of investigative study by experts.

With this background, nine (9) researchers specialized in areas such as scientometrics and IR (Institutional Research) from universities and other research institutes gathered to form this research team. The team proposed the development of methodologies to objectively visualize research performance by subject areas from Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences to Engineering and Life Sciences, and by university function and characteristics. Also, the research team is setting up an international advisory board by inviting experts such as those involved in "Snowball Metrics", an independent initiative started by a group of universities in the United Kingdom. The team will collaborate with Elsevier on the publication of data analyses. KAKENHI data will also be included. The team will compile the results into a report by the end of June 2017, and it will be submitted to MEXT. At the same time, the team will invite universities for practical validations, where appropriate.

The kickoff symposium will be held in October 2016 to explain this study and to receive feedback from relevant people.


Contact for More Information:
Dr. Amane Koizumi, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
E-mail: a.koizumi@nins.jp Phone: 03-5425-1301



(Aug. 18, 2016)