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Vasaparken, universitetets huvudbyggnad
Photo: Johan Wingborg

The best ranking yet for the University of Gothenburg


The University of Gothenburg has moved up 20 spots to 141th in this year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities, popularly known as the Shanghai Ranking. This is the best ranking the University has achieved.

The University of Gothenburg is ranked fourth in Sweden after Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University, and Stockholm University.

“It’s wonderful that we have done so well. Though, really, the changes are small. One explanation is a change in the ranking method that benefited the University of Gothenburg. The University has also gone from five to eight researchers on the Highly Cited list while, for example, Lund University now has fewer researchers on the list, which has a big impact”, says Magnus Machale-Gunnarsson, an analyst at the University who follows and analyses the major rankings.

That the University of Gothenburg has maintained a fairly high position in the Shanghai Ranking is largely the result of Arvid Carlsson’s 2000 Nobel Prize. Other factors that influence ranking are the number of publications in Nature and Science and how many researchers are on the Highly Cited list.

“It is difficult to consciously decide to improve a ranking. If we had more publications in Nature and Science or more highly cited researchers, we could likely improve our ranking even more and maybe qualify for the top 100 list.”

The top rankings on the list are held by American universities, with Harvard at first place, followed by Stanford, and then the British University of Cambridge.

Even with the criticisms of the method, the ranking is considered one of the most prominent. It is also the ranking that has the biggest impact, explains Machale-Gunnarsson.

“The ranking list is primarily focused on identifying the top 50 research universities in the world. The list is used a lot in Asia, and the position we have on it impacts our ability to recruit Asian students.”

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