Oleksandr Dubiv: There is growth potential and we are sure to get into top ten!

Oleksandr Dubiv: There is growth potential and we are sure to get into top ten!

The world-renowned ranking of web performance of higher educational institutions Webometrics recently published its July update made twice a year.

According to its results, SHEI "UzhNU" rapidly strengthened its position by moving from the 80th to the 26th position in the ranking of Ukrainian universities.

As the topic concerns information technologies and the presentation of the university activity in the Internet, we addressed the Head of the Information Technologies Center of SHEI "UzhNU" Oleksandr Dubiv.

In recent years we have often heard about university rarankings. What is Webometrics and how does it differ from other rankings?

- Currently there are many international and regional rankings that differ by the area of coverage and ranking indicators or criteria. Participation in various rankings is an important part of modern university informational activity, because applicants, their parents, employers, managers of various institutions,  organizations and companies focus their attention on them.

It is obviously important for the university to focus on the authoritative world rankings not only to determine its place in the global educational environment, but also to improve its work and direct its attention at modern innovative educational trends.

 As the global community gets the informations about the activities of universities mainly through the Internet, the most important are the rankings of the so-called "Web performance". Webometrics Ranking of World Universities or Webometrics has been the most common and authoritative ranking of Web performance of universities since 2004. The ranking is published twice a year (January and July) by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Spanish National Research Council of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain.

At present Webometrics Ranking covers more than 12 000 universities worldwide. It means that Webometrics is globally recognized. Since 2008 Webometrics has defined ratings in five separate categories: universities, electronic repository of research materials, medical institutions, business schools and research centers.

Webometrics evaluates the activity of universities based on their presence in the global network. Various criteria characterizing the volume, visibility and importance of Internet resources of universities, namely the number and influence of external links to university resources, the number and quality of publications included in the research metrics databases, the total number of Internet pages of the university resources, the number of electronic documents uploaded to the website and others are taken into consideration during the analysis. The idea of ​​such ranking is simple: the more high quality publications are available on the websites of the university and the more often users worldwide refer to this information, the stronger the position of the university in the world is.

The main difference of the Webometrics ranking from other traditional rankings is the way of collecting information for its compilation - namely, almost complete automation of the process done twice a year. Such an approach to collection and processing data about universities in the Internet eliminates subjective assessment of indicators and makes the ranking impartial.

What components determine the success of Webometrics ranking?

- Being the first in the rankings is not an end in itself for universities, it is the analysis of current indicators, identification of weak points and correction of the university performance in the global network in order to improve its position, it is an effective way to create a powerful positive image of the university.

Webometrics ranking methodology may slightly change from time to time, adjusting the content of certain indicators and their importance to the requirements of the time and technology development. Currently, the position of specific university in Webometrics is determined on the basis of the following composite indicators:

IMPACT (50%). This figure takes into account all the external inlinks that the University webdomain receives from third parties. The indicator shows the popularity, relevance of content and citation level of published information.

EXCELLENCE (30%). Academic papers published by university scholars in high impact international journals and belong to 10% of articles that are the most cited in their respective scientific fields. The indicator characterizes the importance, quality and citation of academic research done by the university.

PRESENCE (10%). The total number of webpages hosted in the main webdomain (including all the subdomains and directories) of the university as indexed by the Google search engine. This figure reflects the diversity and scale of open access information covering all areas of the university activity.

OPENNESS (10%). The indicator takes into account the number of rich files (pdf, doc, docx, ppt) published in dedicated websites according to the academic search engine Google Scholar. The indicator reflects the total number of open access materials allocated on the university websites - those that are available for free download (preferably in pdf format).

The jump from 80th to 26th place in the ranking of Ukrainian universities is quite a swift one. What has been done in our university to achieve this position in the Webometrics?

- Each of the structural units of the university contributes to the growth of our university rating. Any citation or link to the websites and projects of the university and especially by our national and foreign partners  is a contribution to the growth of the UzhNU position in the ranking.

Active PR activities of the media services of the university (PR department, Media Center of UzhNU), International Cooperation Department is one of the important components of achieved success. The information posted on the website in the English language has been updated, translation of announcements and news reports in the main news column has been initiated.

In my opinion, the low indicator of online presence does not mean that the university poorly conducts  academic, research and international activities,  there are only problems with their promotion and advancement in the Internet.

The most important thing is that there is still growth potential, so we are not going to stop and are certain to get into the top ten!