News & World Report Best Global Universities rankings were produced to provide insight into how universities compare globally. Since an increasing number of students plan to enroll in universities outside of their own country, the Best Global Universities rankings – which focus specifically on schools’ academic research and reputation overall and not on their separate undergraduate or graduate programs – can help those applicants accurately compare institutions around the world.
The Best Global Universities rankings also provide insight into how U.S. universities – which U.S. News has been ranking separately for more than 30 years – stand globally. All universities can benchmark themselves against schools in their own country and region, become more visible on the world stage, and find top schools in other countries to consider collaborating with.
The overall Best Global Universities rankings encompass nearly 1,500 top institutions spread across 86 countries, up from 81 countries last year. The first step in producing these rankings, which are powered by Clarivate, involved creating a pool of 1,748 universities that was used to rank the top 1,500 schools.
To create the pool of 1,748, U.S. News first included the top 250 universities in the results of Clarivate’s global reputation survey, described further below. Next, U.S. News added institutions that had met the minimum threshold of at least 1,250 papers published in 2014 to 2018, down from 1,500 papers last year. The last step was to remove duplicates and institutions that are not schools to reach the final 2021 ranking pool of 1,748 institutions.
As a result of these criteria, many stand-alone graduate schools, including Rockefeller University in New York and the University of California—San Francisco, were eligible to be ranked and were included in the ranking universe.
The second step was to calculate the rankings using the 13 indicators and weights that U.S. News chose to measure global research performance. Each of the school’s profile pages on usnews.com lists the overall global score as well as numerical ranks for the 13 indicators, allowing students to compare each school’s standing in each indicator.
The indicators and their weights in the ranking formula are listed in the table below, with related indicators grouped together; an explanation of each follows.