عنوان مقاله [English]
Ranking and leveling of universities at the national and international levels is one of the most important issues that has occupied the minds of university administrators, planners, and policymakers in recent years and has influenced their programs. Today, not only university administrators, but also employers in the society and industry sectors who seek to attract more qualified graduates are constantly monitoring universities' rankings in international ranking systems. Therefore, volunteers and study enthusiasts also mention the ranking of universities as one of the most decisive criteria for choosing the university of their choice. Therefore, nowadays, it is an undeniable fact that the presence of a university in the top ranks determines the prestige and scientific status of that university and provides more opportunities for it to play roles, influence, and gain better positions nationally and internationally. So, it is not far-fetched to expect universities to strive for higher rankings by taking appropriate divisions.
Nevertheless, scrutiny of the results provided by existing ranking and grading systems has raised the important issues: "Is the university, which ranks first in the existing macro-ranking and leveling systems really the best in all disciplines and fields of science and technology"?, In this case, "Is it possible to be sure that such a university has the necessary capabilities and competencies to participate in all specialized fields of science and technology"? Of course, no creative mind can answer this question in the affirmative; because in practice, no university, even if it is in the first rank, will still be able to have the first word in all subject fields and to be ranked first in all specialized departments. Thus, the question remains, "What good would these rankings do if we could not rely on the results of existing rankings and leveling to identify top academic departments"? and "How can one expect the results of these rankings as an effective tool to enable science and technology policymakers and planners to better identify more capable universities and benefit from their greater involvement in various specialized science and technology"?
Although providing detailed answers to these types of questions requires extensive scientometrics studies, the best answer that can be provided here is that current rankings and leveling, due to having a macro approach to ranking and focusing on the presentation of the macro rank of universities, should be considered as "semi-complete rankings". So, the specialized abilities of academic departments should not be judged based on the results of the incomplete rankings. In order to complete and transform the results of the existing macro ranking systems into reliable and applicable results for specialized affairs, their approaches and indicators should be seriously reviewed and their implementation processes should continue until the ranking stage of academic specialized departments.
In other words, the processes and indicators of existing ranking systems can be more efficient and effective if they put university ranking on their agenda at both the micro and macro levels at the same time. In the micro-approach based on a subject-oriented perspective, the ranking of educational/research departments of universities should be on the agenda and the rank of each academic specialized department in relation to the rank of similar specialized departments in other universities should be determined. Then, based on the macro approach, the overall ranking of each university should be determined based on the average rank of all specialized departments of each university.
In this case, the main application of the micro rankings results will be at the national and specialized level and can provide more reliable results in order to attract partnership with top academic departments and entrust important and specialized matters to them to the science and technology system. In addition, the results of micro-rankings can be very effective in attracting international students and faculty members, as well as strengthening the university's international scientific collaboration and mobility, and so on. In contrast, the results of macro-rankings can act as a symbol and support at the international level and show the scientific strength and capability of universities and countries at a general level.
Finally, one should not overlook the fact that the ranking and leveling of universities is separate from categories such as the evaluation of academic productivity or academic competency of universities, and the better ranking of a university should not be considered as its better scientific productivity or competency; because the level of scientific productivity of each university, after normalization operations and determining the ratio of each university activity to the components such as the number of students and faculty members, activity history, comprehensiveness or specialization of the university and other similar issues is determined; After the normalization of the indicators, it may become clear that the scientific productivity of a small and young university has been far greater than that of a large and old university. Therefore, identifying the scientific productivity of universities, even after the results of micro and macro rankings are available, requires a more in-depth scientometric analysis of the results.