The Cybermetrics Lab, a research group based in Spain, has released the latest edition of its biannual Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, which seeks to measure “the performance and impact of universities through their Web presence.”
According to the group’s Web site, the rankings—which Cybermetrics began publishing in 2004—were originally conceived as a way of promoting open access to academic materials online. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose OpenCourseWare project boasts the world’s largest collection of free teaching materials, tops the list.
Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Cornell University round out the top five. American universities are the strongest performers: The University of Toronto, at No. 24, is the highest-ranked institution from outside the United States, and the University of Cambridge, at No. 28, registered as the highest-ranked European institution.
The Webometrics rankings score each university on four criteria, including the number of links to the institution’s Web site from other sites. These “inlinks” are ostensibly a good way of evaluating a site’s general impact on the Web community. —Steve Kolowich