Óbuda University hosted an international ranking conference

The role of university rankings in the formulation of university strategy, and how to remain competitive in the region, globally, or in ranking results, were explored at the Óbuda University Ranking Forum titled “Excellence and Visibility” held on November 24. The event featured the field’s leading experts sharing their findings and opinions on the topic of university rankings. Students attending the event had the opportunity to learn how university rankings and the competition among universities contribute to the development of a student-centered higher education, as well as the creation of an innovative and research-oriented environment.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Dr. Levente Kovács, the rector, recalled that Óbuda University organized the Ranking Forum for the third time this year. The forum was first held in 2021 in collaboration with Elsevier, then in 2022 under the leadership of Óbuda University and with the support of the Visegrád Fund through the V4 University Visibility project, and as part of the initiative by Times Higher Education. According to Prof. Dr. Levente Kovács, the fact that this year several internationally recognized higher education experts, including Magdalena Marzec, the European leader of Times Higher Education, and Andrej Voronkov, the founding leader of EasyChair, accepted the university’s invitation and participated as speakers, signifies the international strengthening of Óbuda University.

In his introductory remarks, Prof. Dr. László Gulácsi, the Vice Rector for Research, stated that an increasing number of higher education institutions are being ranked, presenting an excellent opportunity to enhance the international visibility of Óbuda University. However, the escalating competition poses a challenge, requiring a comprehensive strategy that addresses publications, education, and industrial relationships. Currently positioned in the prestigious range of 1000-1200, Óbuda University’s ability to maintain this position is a significant achievement amid the intensifying competition. Universities in Central and Eastern European countries face similar challenges, and the forum provided a platform to discuss common trends and aspirations in response to these challenges, including aspects related to publications, education, and industrial relationships.

Magdalena Marzec, the Regional Director of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, presented the methodology of THE World University Rankings at the forum. She also introduced the data from the THE Global Reputation Survey, which includes the results of over two million university votes and the responses of 100,000 surveyed educators and researchers. During her presentation, she provided insights into current trends and showcased numerous best practices using case studies. Marzec highlighted how universities can advance in international rankings, emphasizing the role of university reputation and recognition in communicating existing achievements.

Péter Szluka, the Director of the Library at Semmelweis University, explained that the growing interest in showcasing the prestige and status of higher education institutions has led to the creation of numerous international ranking systems. A significant portion of these rankings is based on scientific performance. In his presentation, he explored the differences between various rankings and demonstrated how the scientific activity of the best universities is examined using bibliometric parameters.

Sándor Soós, a researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, presented his analysis, seeking to answer how the various “invisible” correlations in bibliometric data influence the scientific performance of universities in rankings.

Barbara Tóth, a member of the Ranking Committee at Óbuda University, drew attention to the contradiction that, despite the dynamic growth in the scientific performance of regional universities, they are losing their positions in the rankings year after year. This trend can be partially explained by the increasing number of newly entering universities into the rankings and the dynamic growth of competition. In her presentation, she introduced the Rank Calculator developed by the Óbuda University team. This tool allows universities in the region to test hypothetical publication scenarios, taking into account the number of newly joining universities and their expected positions, providing the predicted rank for the following year.

The article providing the basis for the presentation and containing the development of the calculator can be found here.

Andrei Voronkov, a professor at the University of Manchester and a guest professor at the Vienna University of Technology, gave a presentation on the services offered by EasyChair to assist universities in their publication strategies.

During the event, panel discussions were held where participants shared their experiences related to the content of the presentations.

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