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CWTS publishes the Leiden Ranking 2021

June 2nd, 2021

Today CWTS published the 2021 edition of the Leiden Ranking, providing detailed bibliometric statistics for a large number of universities worldwide. The number of universities that meet the publication threshold for inclusion in the Leiden Ranking has increased from 1176 in the 2020 edition of the ranking to 1225 in this year’s edition. These 1225 universities are located in 69 countries. This year four new countries have entered the Leiden Ranking with at least one university: Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Vietnam. The ranking now includes universities from 69 countries. China has the largest number of universities in the Leiden Ranking (221), followed by the United States (200).


University rankings attract widespread attention, but they also face strong criticism. Compared to other well-known university rankings, such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the QS World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the Leiden Ranking aims to promote a more responsible approach to university ranking. In a recent evaluation of six university rankings carried out by the INORMS Research Evaluation Working Group, the strengths of the Leiden Ranking compared to other university rankings were indeed recognized. The evaluation led to the conclusion that the Leiden Ranking scores “top marks in terms of efforts to drive appropriate use of rankings”. With respect to methodological rigor, it was concluded that “the ranker that did the best here by a country mile was CWTS Leiden”. Nevertheless, a few weaknesses of the Leiden Ranking were identified as well, in particular regarding the lack of financial transparency and transparency about competing interests. To address these weaknesses and improve transparency, we now provide information about these issues on our website. The information can be found here. We are happy to provide additional information if needed.

We also would like to draw attention to a recent research article in which members of the Leiden Ranking team discuss the approach taken in the Leiden Ranking to handle one of the most intricate challenges in producing high-quality bibliometric statistics for universities, namely the challenge of dealing with the complex interdependencies between academic hospitals and universities. The article by Andrea Reyes Elizondo, Clara Calero-Medina, and Martijn Visser is available as a preprint.

As always, we hope you will find the information provided by the Leiden Ranking useful, and we very much welcome your feedback on the ranking.

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