Berkeley, Wednesday, June 10, 2020 3:04 AM
Rankings are OK. What it matters is the actual outcome to see how people is behaving, what is the health of the people, how is the actual understanding and development of what we do, of what we study, of what we aim to develop, and when is actually developed, how is implemented, or in other words how it is transferred to society and to world outside of the paper, outside of the model, outside of the computer, outside of the product.
I am impressed on the new site that Scimago developed with the rankings. Check it out: scimagoir.com
Of course a ranking is all not encompassing as we have not developed metrics for everything, but what I really liked is how are the details. It is not a simple table to see who is first, and perhaps who is last. While that information is there, what I liked is the the visualization of the spatial distribution. Thanks Prof. Radke, Prof. Hsiang and others. Those concepts of Spatial Analysis, Geo-Statistics, and other relevant to the field have well reached the information or the communication media. In that side you can clearly see per region, where are the concentration of higher institutions. If you will, and depends what is your focus, you can observe where are the top ranked higher institutions. To complete my parenthesis comment on Geo-representation, before coming back to ranking side, you can see in the newspaper, very good and excellent visualization of distributed data. It became more obvious, and more needed for presenting in detail the distribution of Covid-19 cases, but the applications are many. Perhaps other good visualizations will be in the coming elections but the end of this year. I am glad how people is learning better skill to communicate and to inform.
Back to the rankings, I really liked the detail yet still simple classification in three categories: research, innovation, and societal. Further, I loved the split of funding source, or type of institution, which is also related with the previous one, between governmental institutions, higher education, private, health, and others. Classification is a key aspect it seems that the NGO and philanthropic institutions are in that “other” category. i did not go into details. I appreciate the focus on research health, as a category. It was also interesting to see how private institutions produce plenty of research and innovation.
It would be hard to normalize the ranking by resources of funding and people, as the currency value is not the same across the globe, though such a kind of normalization would be an interesting econometric to analyze. Regarding the number of people, on one hand it can be a measurement of efficiency, on the other that is not really a measurement. At I least I always aim to produce enough activity in order to bring more people in, rather than the other way around.
Priorities in development are important. Healthy competition is good. Possible showing who need to catch up, or where to direct sources of education, is also an interesting aspect. I refrain to say funding, because more important is the teaching, the time, the production of results in company of the local people, a lot of that you gain with an active exchange of people through the world. It is not a new concept. The catholic missionaries started it 2,000 years ago. The humanization of the world. (See Romans 1, 16-17)
We have to do a lot during one’s life. One generation, but we can do it. As there are some garbage online, such as Facebook and other side which do not necessarily promote thinking, but are a maxim of personal egos, random news, and further picture and video reports, from which some things might be helpful, but a bast majority are noise. There are plenty of other good things online, more relevant to the purpose of the world wide web exchange of information.