University achieves place on prestigious Leiden List


The University of St Andrews has been placed 71st in the Leiden Rankings, an annual list of the top 500 universities globally. This is the third time in six months that the University has been named as one of the top 100 universities in the world.

MIT tops the table, followed by Princeton and Harvard. The first UK university is the University of Cambridge (31st), followed by the London School of Tropical Medicine (33rd), and the University of Oxford (36th).

In total, six Scottish Universities appear on the table; Edinburgh (66th), St Andrews (71st), Dundee (78th), Glasgow (128th), Aberdeen (162th), Strathclyde (366th).

Institutions in the United States dominate the list, making up more than a quarter of the Leiden Rankings, with all but three universities in the top 25 being American. Germany came second with 39, closely followed by the United Kingdom with 36.

The Leiden Rankings are decided using three indicators; scientific output (the total number of publications), scientific impact (involving the number of times a publication has been cited) and scientific collaboration (measuring the number of co-authored papers, both national and international). Arts are excluded due to the indicators not having enough accuracy in these subjects.

To do well, a university must not only have a range of relevant research interests, but must also be working with other universities globally, with the papers themselves being read and cited.

However, it can be argued that the Leiden Rankings favour universities which use English as their first language. This is due to the fact that work in English is more likely to be read and cited than other languages.

The Principal, Professor Louise Richardson said: “St Andrews may be one of the world’s smaller research universities but demonstrably we have global reach as so many of our academics are producing internationally important research. This is a good result for St Andrews, but it is also a good result for Scotland. Despite the financial challenges we all face, we are determined that our universities should remain a critical international force and a means of strengthening Scottish influence abroad.”

Photo: Benoit Grogan-Avignon


  1. Any ranking (read Leiden Ranking) that ranks the University of California – Santa Barbara (widely known as a party school) 2nd in the world instantly loses my respect.


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