Why Research Universities Should be Wary of Media Rankings

The Global Language Institute has started a new index that ranks universities by number of media mentions. Below is their top ten universities.

I have a few reservations and cautions about the significance of these rankings. At one level, having comparative benchmarks that provide at least some data about the media profile of the research conducted at universities is better than no data at all. However, there is the risk that these ranking reinforce the marketing and publicity trend among research universities, with science joining athletics as a part of the competitive branding of the university.

Instead of thinking of science communication as a publicity process, research universities need to make sure that they are instead thinking of science communication as an ongoing partnership and trust-building process. Science communication expert Rick Borchelt calls this process "managing the trust portfolio," a key approach he details in a recent book chapter in an excellent edited volume on science communication. (See also powerpoint).

1. Harvard University, MA
2 . Columbia University, NY
3 . University of Chicago, IL
4 . University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
5. Stanford University, CA
6. University of Wisconsin-Madison
7. Cornell University, NY
8 . Princeton University, NJ
9. Yale University, CT
10. University of California-Berkeley

Hat tip to Nanopublic.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

If you want to spot a narcissist, look at the eyebrows

Bushier eyebrows are associated with higher levels of narcissism, according to new research.

Big Think illustration / Actor Peter Gallagher attends the 24th and final 'A Night at Sardi's' to benefit the Alzheimer's Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 9, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
  • Science has provided an excellent clue for identifying the narcissists among us.
  • Eyebrows are crucial to recognizing identities.
  • The study provides insight into how we process faces and our latent ability to detect toxic people.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less