A very useful resource which I need to consult, say, twice a year is master journal list of Thomson Reuters Scientific. This morning it was actully a colleage who needed this resource. Actually he wanted to know the journals covered by Web of Science. So he needed a subset of the Master Journal List. I knew that existsed but where?
Using Google we ended up on this version of the Master Journal List. Not the one I really wanted since it did not have the datase specific lists. I knew it existed but where? Only a couple of hours later, by approaching the site from a different angle, navigating around a wee bit more different I found the version of the Master Journal List, the version we were actually looking for.
Looking carefully I finally see that the first one is a more extensive journal search form of the Master Journal List. But that you can only find out after you’ve found the second website. You can navigate from the one to the other, but not the other way around. Little bit strange. Let alone confusing.
Actually in a similar vein. Thomson has a brand new product InCites, whereas the old totally different In-Cites website/product from the same company still exists.
So far I did not notice any proper research on the role of university rankings in relation to university marketing. Of course, I am aware of many instances that the importance of university rankings have been mentioned in this respect, but evidence to substantiate these claims are rare.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised by the research of Liang-Hsuan Chen (2008) which only passed my screen today. She found that for Asian graduate students attending Canadian universities the rankings played an important role in university selection. She found:
Graduate students enrolled in professional programs ranked factors such as the ranking of the program and affordability of tuition with high importance in choosing a Canadian graduate school. The fact that the ranking of program was ranked with the highest importance by this group of students was in part due to the availability of program ranking information and marketing efforts (e.g., the MBA Tour) undertaken by the programs.
My impression from this piece of research, whether you like it or not, rankings do play their role in the perception and choice of international students in their selection of university to complete their graduate education. Rankings have different purposes Chen explains:
Reputational ranking became a proxy for the quality of education. Although much criticized by academics for its lack of both validity and reliability, reputational ranking serves three purposes: first, it is a promotional tool for higher education institutions to recruit students; second, it is an assessing tool for international students to screen out competitive choices; and third, it is a marketing and signaling tool for students themselves after they graduate.
So it’s not only important to be present in the various University rankings. You better make sure you rank well!
Chen, Liang-Hsuan (2008) Internationalization or International Marketing? Two Frameworks for Understanding International Students’ Choice of Canadian Universities, Journal of Marketing For Higher Education, 18(1): 1-33, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841240802100113 (Subscription required)