The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2023

The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2023

Today CWTS releases the 2023 edition of the CWTS Leiden Ranking. In this post, the Leiden Ranking team provides an update on ongoing developments related to the ranking.

Universities in the Leiden Ranking 2023

As Figure 1 shows, the number of universities in the Leiden Ranking keeps increasing. Like in the last three editions of the ranking, a university needs to have at least 800 fractionally counted publications in the most recent four-year time window to be included in the ranking. This year 1411 universities meet this criterion, 93 more than last year and 235 more than in 2020.

Figure 1. Increase in the number of universities in the Leiden Ranking (2020-2023).

The universities in the Leiden Ranking 2023 are located in 72 countries. Figure 2 shows the number of universities by country. China has the largest number of universities in the Leiden Ranking (273), followed by the US (206), in line with the last three editions of the ranking.

Figure 2. Number of universities in the Leiden Ranking 2023 by country.


Three countries previously not represented now also have universities in the Leiden Ranking. These are Indonesia (Bandung Institute of Technology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and University of Indonesia), Cameroon (University of Yaoundé I), and Kazakhstan (Nazarbayev University).

More Than Our Rank

At CWTS we are strongly committed to promoting responsible uses of university rankings. Almost 20 years ago, our former director Ton van Raan was one of the first experts expressing concerns about the fatal attraction of rankings of universities. By creating the Leiden Ranking and contributing to U-Multirank, we have introduced alternatives to simplistic one-dimensional rankings. We have also developed ten principles to guide the responsible use of university rankings.

Building on this longstanding commitment to responsible uses of university rankings, we are proud to be one of the initial supporters of More Than Our Rank, an initiative launched in October 2022 by the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS). By providing “an opportunity for academic institutions to highlight the many and various ways they serve the world that are not reflected in their ranking position”, More Than Our Rank is fully aligned with our principles for ranking universities responsibly (see Figure 3). We hope that many universities and other stakeholders will join this important initiative.

Figure 3. Why does CWTS support More Than Our Rank? (Slide from this presentation.)

What’s next - Making the Leiden Ranking more transparent

Being as transparent as possible is one of our principles for responsible university ranking. While the Leiden Ranking offers methodological transparency by documenting its methods in considerable detail, the Web of Science data on which the ranking is based (made available to us by Clarivate, the owner of Web of Science) is of a proprietary nature and cannot be shared openly. This limits the transparency and reproducibility of the Leiden Ranking. It is also in tension with the growing recognition of the importance of “independence and transparency of the data, infrastructure and criteria necessary for research assessment and for determining research impacts” (one of the principles of the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment).

In the new strategic plan of CWTS, openness of research information is a top priority. Open data sources such as Crossref and OpenAlex offer exciting opportunities to produce bibliometric analytics in a fully transparent and reproducible way. We are currently working on an ambitious project in which we explore the use of open data sources to create a fully transparent and reproducible version of the Leiden Ranking. We expect to share the outcomes of this project later this year.

Let us know your feedback and ideas

As always, we appreciate your feedback on the Leiden Ranking and your ideas on ways to improve the ranking. Don’t hesitate to reach out!


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