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Best of 2015: Wikipedia-Mining Algorithm Reveals World’s Most Influential Universities

An algorithm’s list of the most influential universities contains some surprising entries. From December …

Where are the world’s most influential universities? That’s a question that increasingly dominates the way the public, governments, and funding agencies think about research and higher education.

The problem, of course, is that it’s hard to produce an objective ranking of almost anything, let alone universities. Cultural, historical, and geographical factors can all influence these rankings in ways that are hard to quantify.

So an independent way of producing a ranking that avoids these controversies would be widely welcomed.

Today, we get such a ranking thanks to the work of Jose Lages at the University of Franche-Comte in France and a few pals. They’ve used the way universities are mentioned on Wikipedia to produce a world ranking. Their results provide a new way to think about rankings that may help to avoid some of the biases that can occur in other ranking systems.

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