The 2016 edition of the Shanghai rankings, also known as the Academic Rankings of World Universities, featured nine universities that placed in the top 100 for the first time.
Among these were Tsinghua University ranking 58th, and Peking University at 71st, both marking the first time Chinese universities placed in the top 100.
Overall, Harvard and Stanford retained the top two positions in the rankings, respectively
This was a huge jump for both universities, which last year sat in the 101-150 cohort.
Singapore also joined the top 100 with its National University of Singapore, placing at joint 83rd with Canada’s McMaster University and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Looking at the Asia Pacific region alone, the University of Tokyo was the highest ranked institution, placing 20th, up one spot from last year.
Overall, Harvard and Stanford retained the top two positions in the rankings, respectively, with this year being the 14th year Harvard has topped the list.
The University of California – Berkeley and the UK’s University of Cambridge climbed one place each, ranking at third and fourth, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology completed the top five.
Meanwhile in continental Europe, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – Zurich ranked highest at number 19, while a further two UK universities, the University of Oxford and University College London also made it to the top 20.
Institutions from the Americas claimed over half of the top 100, with 54 universities, as well as 165 in the top 500, down from 176 last year. Outside of the US, the University of Toronto was the top ranked university at 27th.
An additional 27 universities debuted in the top 500 institutions, which were dominated by Europe with 204 universities – one less than last year.
27 universities debuted in the top 500 university rankings
The difference was made up from the Oceania region, which saw 12 more universities enter the top 500. The highest ranked was the University of Melbourne, placing 40th in the table.
In line with last year, Africa maintained five universities in the top 500, led by the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand, both in the 201-300 cohort.
The universities are ranked by looking at six different indicators: alumni and staff members of an institutions winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; highly cited researchers in 21 broad categories; per capita academic performance of an institution; papers published in nature and science as well as papers indexed in Science Citation Index.
“For each indicator, the highest scoring institution is assigned a score of 100, and other institutions are calculated as a percentage of the top score,” according to an explanation on the ARWU website.
In total, over 1,200 universities around the world are ranked, with just the top 500 published.