UC Santa Cruz ranks 2nd in the U.S., 8th overall among universities under 50

UC Santa Cruz ranks 2nd in the U.S. and 8th globally among the top universities in the world under 50 years old, according to an annual analysis by Times Higher Education (THE).

The 8th in the world position is a three-place jump from number 11 where the study has ranked UC Santa Cruz in each of the past two years.

The campus ranks at the top (100 percentile) in the key citation index that measures the influence of an institution's research.

Times Higher Education uses the same range of 13 performance indicators to rank institutions for its "100 under 50" as it uses for its World University Rankings, a list on which UCSC ranked 109. There, UCSC ranked first in the world for research influence, tied with MIT.

Citation index measures a university's research influence by the number of times its published works are cited by scholars across the globe. The data are drawn from the 12,000 academic journals indexed by Thomson Reuters' Web of Science database and include all indexed journals published between 2008 and 2012.

The research influence indicator, weighted at 30 percent of the overall score, is the single most influential and looks at the role of universities in spreading new knowledge and ideas.

"The citations help show us how much each university is contributing to the sum of human knowledge: they tell us whose research has stood out, has been picked up and built on by other scholars and, most importantly, has been shared around the global scholarly community to push further the boundaries of our collective understanding, irrespective of discipline," THE said in explaining the methodology.

THE said it reduces the weight of subjective indicators for academic reputation and prestige for the younger universities, reasoning that older universities have more time to build a reputation with deeper, wider, "and more established alumni networks with graduates more likely to hold senior positions in universities and society at large, all of which can bolster their reputations."

UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine, both founded in 1965, were the only U.S. universities to rank in the top dozen overall on the "100 under 50." Irvine was seventh, the same place it was ranked a year ago. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland was ranked first.

The principal criteria THE uses are:
•    Research: volume, income and reputation (30 percent);
•    Citations: research influence; (30 percent);
•    Teaching: the learning environment (30 percent)
•    International outlook: people and research (7.5 percent);
•    Industry income: innovation (2.5 percent)

Times Higher Education is a weekly British magazine based in London reporting specifically on news and other issues related to higher education. Its World University Rankings first appeared in 2004.