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Anomalies in university ranking claimed

The Australian National University (ANU) is ranks 24th in the world for communication and media studies, according to the 2012 QS World University Rankings by Subject. But the subject is not offered at ANU.

At the other end of the scale, James Cook University in Queensland only just managed a top 200 (151-200) place in earth and marine sciences, despite having world-renowned research hubs in those subjects, reported The Australian newspaper on 30 June.

When compared with the 2010 Excellence for Australia Research (ERA) audit, more anomalies surface, the article said.

Three universities—Swinburne, Griffith and Macquarie—which scored ‘well above world average’ in physics and astronomy in the 2010 ERA audit were not included in the QS table. But subjects that scored low in the ERA exercise made it into the QS top 200 list.

The QS rankings consider factors other than research, such as ‘academic and employer reputation’, according to Ben Sowter, QS head of research, who said he stood by the rankings.

“It presents a picture that is interesting and informative and which illustrates levels of excellence in various subjects,” he told the newspaper.