In May 2014 in Brussels the first edition of U-Multirank was celebrated. Being a multidimensional ranking comparing HE-institutes on profile and qualities, the U-Multirank meant to provide a more diverse alternative to the already existing international rankings.
A year later the European Universities Association (EUA) has consulted its member universities about the first experiences with U-Multirank. Does it work? Is it helpful? Too what extent are participant facing obstacles and what will happen with the results in the future. 126 members of EUA took part in a survey to get a first overview.
Most universities were happy about the proces of coöperation with the UMR consortium that was tasked to create the new ranking. However, some complaints rose over how the data were presented in the final version of U-Multirank. Universities had to take a lot of effort and time in collecting the demanded data.
Especially the interpretation of the different indicators might be causing concern. “Whether a universiy took part in UMR or not, all expressed major concerns regarding the interpretation of the UMR indicators across different institutions and countries and thus the validity of the data provided. This concern is backed up by the response from those actively providing data about challenges in collecting the data in the format requested,” the report writes.
Indicators causing concern
The EUA therefore concludes that different views are heard in reaction to the new ranking. “The survey showed that UMR is still struggling with many of the same challenges as other rankings with regard tot the comparability and reliability of data.” Especially the indicators regarding teaching and education cause trouble. According to the EUA future will tell if UMR will succeed in overcoming these problems.
For U-Multirank in the future to be taken seriously as a broadly accepted comparison tool for European higher education, steps need to be taken. “Four in 10 universities have no plans to use the results of UMR or do not yet know how they would do so,” the EUA writes in its report.