UNU announces launch of a groundbreaking global university research benchmarking system

November 22, 2011

The Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS), the first international university research benchmarking initiative, debuts on November 23, 2011 at http://www.researchbenchmarking.org.

The GRBS initiative, first announced in October 2010 at UN Headquarters, in New York, is a joint effort of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST) in Macao, China, and the US-based Center for Measuring University Performance. It is supported by over 30 contributing organizations from a dozen countries.

A central tenet driving the GRBS is to provide insight to support the diversity of university research. The system analyses university research performance at a finer level of detail than has previously been done by any international ranking or evaluation system. In addition to broad subject categories such as Engineering or Medicine, the GRBS includes detailed subject categories like Aerospace Engineering and Cardiology. Universities are selected for inclusion in the GRBS based on their research performance in such fine-grained areas. The result is a system that is able to highlight the performance of universities with particular niche strengths, and to expand focus beyond the largest and most comprehensive institutions.

By using only verifiable data to measure the quality, impact and internationality of scientific research, and by providing flexible analytical tools that permit each user to focus on those aspects of university research performance most relevant to his/her needs, this initiative supports universities in many ways. The new approach supports each university to determine its own research profile and to identify niche areas in which the university can excel; to make more rational strategic and resource allocation decisions; to identify partners with complementary strengths; and to publicize programme strengths. The primary data source for the initiative is the SciVerse Scopus, Elsevier's abstract and citation database, which has been chosen due to its broad coverage of high-quality international peer-reviewed research literature.

"We must not reduce the richness of universities' contributions to a single number published in a league table, as is common in today's ranking systems," says Prof. Peter Haddawy, Director of UNU-IIST. "The GRBS is an open collaborative effort of the academic community that seeks broad input and promotes discussion of the important issues in promoting excellence in higher education."

"This is an ambitious project that is sorely needed. The Center for Measuring University Performance is happy to participate and help generate valid and reliable data that can be used to assess the quality of universities across the globe", said founders of the Center for Measuring University Performance, Prof. John V. Lombardi (Louisiana State University System President) and Prof. Elizabeth D. "Betty" Capaldi (Provost and Executive Vice President at Arizona State University).

GRBS is also the first research evaluation system attempting to evaluate the research landscape in Sustainable Development. Initial coverage focuses on Renewable Energy, covering Solar Power, Wind Power, Hydro Power, and Biofuels and Biomass Energy. More areas, such as Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation, will be added in the coming months.

The first results cover over 700 universities in North America and Asia-Pacific. The next rounds of results covering other parts of the world are scheduled for release in due course. In particular, universities from the European Union will be added within the coming few months.
Media Kit

A Media Kit with more information about the new Global Research Benchmarking System is available online at http://unu.edu/wp-content/uploads/unu.edu/post/000/017/805/grbs-media-kit.pdf.

About United Nations University

The United Nations University contributes -- through collaborative research, teaching, capacity development and advisory services -- to efforts aimed at resolving the pressing global problems of sustainable human security, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. With its unique identity as both a United Nations organization and a high-level research and teaching institution, UNU is able to contribute directly to the advancement of knowledge relevant to the role and work of the United Nations, and to the application of that knowledge in formulating sound principles, policies, strategies and programmes for action. And because its intellectual independence is guaranteed by its Charter, UNU can make these contributions with objectivity and integrity, and thus can present decision makers and scholars, and its own students, with open-minded and alternative perspectives on the key global challenges of today and tomorrow. (http://unu.edu)


The United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology, located in Macao, China is one of the institutes of the United Nations University. UNU-IIST strives to further the development and application of Information and Communication Technology to addressing pressing global problems of sustainable development that are of concern to the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States, through education, research, capacity building, and policy support. (http://www.iist.unu.edu)

About The Center for Measuring University Performance

The Center for Measuring University Performance is a research enterprise focused on the competitive national context for major research universities in the United States. The Center's work relies heavily on the initiative and insight of its advisory board and draws on the insight and recommendations of many colleagues throughout the country who contribute data, information, and perspective. The Center's data and analysis have attracted considerable attention around the United States and are used in the Carnegie Classification of US universities. The members of The Center 's staff have participated in discussions about incentive and reward systems that lead to improved university performance with a number of institutions and individuals in the United States and abroad. (http://mup.asu.edu)

About SciVerse Scopus

Covering the world's research literature, SciVerse Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality Web sources with smart tools to track analyze and visualize research. SciVerse Scopus was designed and developed with over 500 users and librarians internationally. Its unique database contains abstracts and references from over 19,500 peer-reviewed journals from more than 5,000 publishers worldwide, ensuring broad interdisciplinary coverage. In addition, SciVerse Scopus not only offers users citation information about the articles covered, but also directly integrates Web and patent searches. Direct links to full-text articles, library resources and other applications like reference management software, make SciVerse Scopus quicker, easier and more comprehensive to use than any other literature research tool. (http://www.scopus.com)

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier's online solutions include SciVerse ScienceDirect, SciVerse Scopus, Reaxys, MD Consult and Nursing Consult, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai's Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively. A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange). (http://www.elsevier.com)

United Nations University

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