UK (Brunel University London) Ranking Reveals Impactful, International Nature of Brunel’s Research

This year’s edition of a global university ranking that delves into research statistics has shown that researchers at Brunel University London are publishing papers that are highly cited by others across the academic disciplines – and increasingly so. 

The CTWS Leiden Ranking 2023 lists Brunel as 18th in the UK, and 82nd in the world, for an indicator which shows the proportion of a university’s papers that, compared with other publications in the same scientific field, belong in the top 10% most frequently cited.

When others cite Brunel research, it means they’re using Brunel researchers’ findings as a source in their own studies. So across the scientific fields the ranking looks at – such as ‘Physical sciences and engineering’ and ‘Social sciences and humanities’ – Brunel research is a significant contributor to scientific progress.

For this indicator, referred to as PP(top 10%) for scientific impact, Brunel was ranked 41st in 2021 and 27th in 2022, demonstrating a sustained and steep climb that now puts the university in the top 20 for this measure of impact.

The annual ranking has been published since 2007 by a team at Leiden University in the Netherlands: the Centre for Science and Technology Studies, or CTWS for short in Dutch. It’s an independent ranking that doesn’t rely on any data submitted from universities.

Instead, they take bibliographic data – information about published papers – from the Web of Science database produced by renowned analytics company Clarivate. Then they select universities anywhere in the world who have published enough papers to meet their inclusion requirement. For this year’s ranking, 1,411 universities in total across 72 countries were research-intensive enough to exceed this threshold, of which 64 universities are in the UK.

CTWS assert that universities are complex institutions whose performance can’t be represented by a single number, so they publish a variety of indicators to allow for exploration from different angles.

Other indicators in this year’s Leiden Ranking demonstrate just how international Brunel’s research is. For example, they reveal the proportion of a university’s publications that have been co-authored with researchers in one or more other countries. For this measure of international collaboration, 72% of Brunel’s research is done this way, putting the university 7th in the UK and 66th in the world. And when the proportion of long-distance collaborations is looked at – working with researchers that, broadly speaking, are based outside Europe, the Middle East and North Africa – then Brunel ranks 5th in the UK and 86th in the world.

“The Leiden Ranking puts into figures just how remarkably well cited Brunel research is across many scientific fields,” said Prof Hua Zhao, Brunel’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research. “It also provides further evidence that our academics and their projects are focused on tackling global challenges in collaboration with researchers around the world.

“All our research staff, and those who support them, should take pride in these measures of impact and of our ongoing progress.”