Go back

‘Small’ backing so far for initiative to complement rankings

Image: Andrew Silver for Research Professional News

Inorms 2023: Concerns about More Than Our Rank replacing rankings said to be causing hesitancy

Only a small number of higher education institutions have so far signed up to a global initiative to counter the “reductionist” nature of traditional institutional rankings, one of the people behind the initiative has said.

Launched in October 2022, the More Than Our Rank initiative from the International Network of Research Management Societies urges participating universities to post a statement detailing activities they do that are “not adequately captured” by national and international rankings.

Elizabeth Gadd, chair of the Research Evaluation Group at Inorms, previously wrote on Research Professional News that the initiative is “aiming to fill the gap” left by rankings, which are based on metrics such as staff-student ratios and do not capture the full range of an institution’s activity.

According to its website, 12 institutions from continents including North America and Europe have agreed to take part so far. During a session of the Inorms annual meeting in Durban, South Africa, on 31 May, Research Evaluation Group member William Bramwell (pictured) suggested this pace of take-up was expected.

“I think the uptake has been understandably small at the start,” said Bramwell, who is also a senior research officer at the Association of Commonwealth Universities. “We’ve had a really big proliferation of supporting organisations rather than signatories, but that will take time [to translate into more signatures].”

Stimulating sign-up

Bramwell told Research Professional News after his talk that it may take time because formal sign-up requires approval from vice-chancellors. One leadership concern is that signing up might be equivalent to “withdrawing” from rankings, he said.

“This is not about withdrawing from rankings” and the initiative can coexist with rankings, he clarified, but he added: “When issues like this are often raised, it can raise a spectre of bigger implications and concerns for institutions.”

He said that the Inorms Research Evaluation Group offers guidance for conversations to stimulate sign-up and that some ranking organisations themselves have endorsed the initiative.

Research Professional News is media partner for the Inorms 2023 conference in Durban. Read all of the coverage here.