Webomatic Ranking: Grading Academic Institutions on Web Based Information

Textbook, 2012

32 Pages



Evolution of Webometric Studies

What is ranking?

Ranking Universities on Web based methods

Webometric ranking of world Universities (WRWU)

Comparison of WRWU with other university ranking methods

Deficiencies in Webometric Rankings of World Universities

Topographies Affected on University Web Site Performance

How to improve web engagement of University Staff


Evolution of Webometric Studies

Most of the Webometric research studies carried out in the past was on link structure analyses; because it believed, that the link structure of Web sites has a strong relationship with its visibility. With these research attempts, “Webometrics” was emerged as a study based on standard quantitative measurements of web resources in a search engine database studied at a given snapshot of time. The “Webometrics” has gained an importance in the process of investigating tools for evaluating performance of universities due to its quantitative nature of features.

To monitor and improve the current growth of the academic sector in the WWW, various evaluation processes have been introducing along the time. Cybermetrics Lab’s "Webometrics Ranking of World Universities" is one such mechanism; that focuses on encouraging universities in web publication. With the dawn of new century Webometric studies has expanded into several directions as mentioned below.

“Web Indicators” – Many laboratory groups around the world are working to highlight the quality of web indicators and correlation studies. Recently Aguillo et al. (2010) proposed a series of web indicators for the world universities in their study of comparative analysis of web indicators. They have proposed 22 web indicators that can be used in analysing world university performance on the web.

Table 1. Webometric Indicators for Universities

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Source: Aguillo et al., 2010)

Further, Aguillo (2009b) categorized web indicators into three main categories; activity related, impact related and usage related. This categorization explains Webometric indicators that would be useful in present and future Webometric studies.

Table 2. Activity, Impact and Usage Related Webometric Indicators

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Source: Aguillo 2009b)

“Web space studies” - This branch of Webometric studies deals with analysing relationship to social networks and studies of other social phenomena of the Web.

“Web data collection” - These types of studies are dealing with how to apply Web crawlers, adequate sampling methods, limitations as to webometric analyses. This has a great importance in terms of quality assessments of search engines.

“Web link analyses” - This area of Webometric studies has a strong link to the field of information retrieval in terms of Web information retrieval and Web data mining (Ingwersen 2006).

Webometrics is contextualizing with other information science metrics like Bibliometrics, Informetrics, Scientometrics and Cybermetrics (Björneborn 2004). Following diagram shows the overlapping of information science disciplines within their context.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1. Relationship of Webometrics with Other Metric Sciences

(Source: Bjorneborn 2004 cited in Goswami, Sharma and Shukla 2008)

The concept of “Bibliometrics” has introduced around 1969, and it is the oldest among five metric sciences. In the above diagram, Informetrics “the quantitative study of whole internet” has denoted in the outermost layer.” Scientometrics” studies the quantitative aspect of science as a discipline or economic activity. “Webometrics” is the study of quantitative aspect of web sites. The “Webometrics” refers to the study of web while “Cybermetrics” is the study of non-web based internet applications like newsgroups, emails, chat and other applications. “Informetrics” covers all four sciences.

What is ranking?

Ranking is a growing area of study based on quantitative methodologies. Rankings play a major role in any discipline; because people are interested in knowing who, what, which country or countries achieved best rankings in various aspects like sports, fashion, education, health and economic profile. The rankings help to compare and improve those areas accordingly, at the same time rankings can break or make the reputation. Evaluation and ranking are on-going processes in information management that differ in their purposes and outcome but related in concepts (Huang 2011).

Evaluation of universities is a broadest area. It includes research, teaching, services, and overall administration activities comprising both academic and administrative perspectives of university functionality. Huang (2011) defines ranking as a convenient, simple yet efficient mechanism of evaluation. In this age of globalization, it is not an easy task to be in par with the best-labelled academic institutes. But everyone wants to be the leader. Therefore, it is not an easy task to measure the superiority among them. To resolve this problem various weighting systems were being developing during last few years that nourished the culture of ranking universities.

Higher education system rankings were first introduced by Bob Morse in 1983 “US News and World Report - American Colleges Ranking", that has been publishing annually since 1987 (Alagehgr 2010). Inspired by this first ranking methodology many local, national and global ranking methodologies were evolved. The first global ranking methodology for Universities was evolved in 2003, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This lead higher education authorities and policy makers began to refer university rankings to evaluate university's performance. Ranking systems are being conducting based on national and international scale. The national ranking systems usually measure all institutions within a country. However, in some instances like in United States and Canada create group of mini-league tables that allows categorizing according to certain institutional characteristics and compares universities within the country. Global ranking systems evolved from the initial idea of national rankings. The well-known global ranking systems are “Academic Ranking of World Universities” of Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University, World University Rankings from “Times Higher Education Supplement” of Britain (THES) first released in November 2004 and the “Webometric rankings of World Universities (WRWU)”, that was first released in 2004. Moreover, there are sub institutional rankings; a sub set of national rankings that compare units in a university with one another. One such well-known ranking systems is German “Centres for Higher Education” (CHE) rankings that captures data about departments, higher education institutes and academic locations, assessments by students and professors plus 30 indicators per subjects with other supplementary information (Hachmeister 2012). With the evolving demand for ranking, “International Ranking Expert Group” (IREG) published "Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions" in May, 2006 for maintaining quality in all processes of rankings. It offers sixteen recommendations for higher education rankings on purposes and goals, design and weighting of indicators, collection and processing of data and results presentation (Jowkar and Beglou 2008) while ensure the transparency in adapted methodology and should be respect in classifying in the field of higher education. The majority of national rankings are published by media companies such as US news and World report, The Times Good University Guide, league tables compiled by UK newspaper the Guardian and Independent, National rankings in Italy and France. Even though some rankings have been produced by academic institutions they did not get much attention. Minority of rankings are published by non-profit, independent organizations such as CHE rankings in Germany, polish ranking and Studychoice123 in Netherlands. Some examples of a ranking published by public are “Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan” (HEEACT) and the “Nigerian Rectors’ Conference” (Vught and Westerheijden 2010).

Various ranking systems employ multiple indicators to overcome methodological problems based on the purposes of evaluation. Even though, most widely used rankings still have many defects associated with their methodologies. Until today, there exists no global ranking where universities all over the world are comparing (Okebukola and Oye 2011).

Ranking Universities on Web based methods

The universities are struggling to be among the top of the world universities and to be the top in their country. Internet has enabled promoting the universities, providing online user services and vast amount of valuable information. It has become the major resource centre for academics. Hence, there comes the need to introduce new metrics, new methodologies and frameworks to examine this complex growing network of World Wide Web. This leads to investigate new matrices to study about web that is the collection of interrelated web sites. Web sites are developing by integrating various technologies and components. Utilization of suitable technologies to the optimum level will result in good quality web sites and therefore, we can measure the quality, performance and activity on a website, if there is a proper method.

Web page content analysis

Web sites are mirrors of an organization that gives the whole picture of the organization. Therefore, the content analysis of web site, especially the content and structure of home page, coverage and depth of information provided in home pages has become an important area in Webometric research. Web page content analyses are not much popular as link analysis in field of Webometric studies. Research study on “Home pages of Indian Central Universities Web sites” (Prakash and Patil 2011) identified the universities should have more systematic approach while designing and developing their Web sites. They have noted that most of the universities are lack of essential information and most of the universities are below the expected level. This study carried out using a pre-structured checklist to know the nature of links and coverage of information. Data gathered has grouped into several categories; inception, academic, frames, facial and services. According to the research findings most of the Indian Central Universities were lack of providing the information like fee structure, alumina, online research publications and failed to keep the up-to-date information on the Web site. Based on this research we can identify the following features as some of the vital elements to be included in a “Home Page” of a Web site.


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Webomatic Ranking: Grading Academic Institutions on Web Based Information
Library Science, Information- / Documentation Science
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webomatic, ranking, grading, academic, institutions, based, information
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Chaminda Jayasundara (Author)E.M.C. Edirimanna (Author), 2012, Webomatic Ranking: Grading Academic Institutions on Web Based Information, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/262564


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