Global Network Centrality of University Rankings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Warwick

Abstract

Universities and higher education institutions form an integral part of the national infrastructure and prestige. As academic research benefits increasingly from international exchange and cooperation, many universities have increased investment in improving and enabling their global connectivity. Yet, the relationship of university performance and its global physical connectedness has not been explored in detail. We conduct, to our knowledge, the first large-scale data-driven analysis into whether there is a correlation between university relative ranking performance and its global connectivity via the air transport network. The results show that local access to global hubs (as measured by air transport network betweenness) strongly and positively correlates with the ranking growth (statistical significance in different models ranges between 5% and 1% level). We also found that the local airport’s aggregate flight paths (degree) and capacity (weighted degree) has no effect on university ranking, further showing that global connectivity distance is more important than the capacity of flight connections. We also examined the effect of local city economic development as a confounding variable and no effect was observed suggesting that access to global transportation hubs outweighs economic performance as a determinant of university ranking. The impact of this research is that we have determined the importance of the centrality of global connectivity and, hence, established initial evidence for further exploring potential connections between university ranking and regional investment policies on improving global connectivity.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • university performance, complex network , transport network