US News & World Report, a leading US-based publisher of education analysis and rankings, unveiled the inaugural Best Arab Region Universities rankings at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Qatar on 4 November 2014.
QU is the only university from Qatar enlisted on the Best Arab Region Universities rankings. Three universities in Saudi Arabia claim the top spots, with King Saud University taking the No 1 spot, followed by King Abdulaziz University at No 2 and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology at No 3. Cairo University in Egypt is ranked at No 4, followed by the American University of Beirut in Lebanon at No 5.
The 2015 US News Best Arab Region Universities rankings offer the most comprehensive assessment of higher education institutions in the region, allowing prospective students and their parents to accurately compare institutions. The overall rankings include 91 universities in 16 countries; there are also separate rankings in 16 subject areas, including key fields such as computer science, engineering, medicine, mathematics and social sciences.
For 30 years, the US News Best Colleges rankings have been helping prospective students identify the best universities for them in the US. Editor and Chief Content Officer, Brian Kelly, said:
We are dedicated to giving parents and students the resources they need to understand their education options…we bring to the Arab region and university community the same commitment and depth of study that have become so important in the US.’
The Arab region rankings focus on institutions’ academic research and are based on research data and metrics provided by Scopus, part of the Elsevier Research Intelligence portfolio. The methodology weighs factors that measure research productivity and performance, using a variety of bibliometric indicators such as publications and citations. Each ranked Arab region university has a profile page on usnews.com displaying contact information and detailed ranking indicators.
The 2015 rankings are the beginning of a long-term project by US News to develop surveys and rankings for the region. In subsequent editions of the rankings, US News plans to include other ranking factors, including separate reputation surveys of Arab region academics and employers and statistical, school-level data collected directly from Arab region universities. HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, initiated the project as a way to create global consistency and add value to higher education in the region. The Qatar Foundation is assisting in the research effort with a grant.
The Best Arab Region Universities rankings are led by Robert Morse, chief data strategist and head of educational research at US News for three decades. Morse and US News have played a significant role in the development of standardised data for US higher education. Morse said:
In the 30 years that we’ve been analysing higher education, our goal has always been to make the most fair and accurate comparisons…for the first time, large numbers of Arab region universities will be able to benchmark themselves against schools in their own country and region.’
Al-Monitor, a media organisation that provides original reporting and analysis by prominent journalists and experts from the Middle East, is providing US News with region-specific higher education content, as well as publishing an Arabic version of the U.S. News rankings.
On 28 October 2014, US News unveiled a separate project: the inaugural Best Global Universities rankings, which encompass the top 500 universities across 49 countries.