IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Industrialisation of university rankings: An analysis of university rankers' social media accounts

09 January 2019, 12:30 pm–2:00 pm

Students in the library

In this seminar, Dr Lim will discuss how university ranking organisations generate and preserve their business models in Higher Education.

Event Information

Open to



Centre for Global Higher Education


Room 822
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way

This seminar will consider how the rankings organisations and ranking editors interact with a variety of audiences through an analysis of their social media accounts.

The analysis covers close to 13,000 social media entries from the Twitter account the three ‘best-known’ international ranking organisations:

  • THE
  • QS and,
  • Shanghai ARWU.

There is particular attention to the case of the Times Higher Education. They contribute the largest proportion of entries in the dataset as an archetype of a ranking and educational consulting organisation.

The analysis is based on an earlier framework that aims to characterise rankers’ ‘weak expertise’. It will also show how university rankers claim a demand for their services and how they respond to their critics.

The seminar contributes to the discussion around the increasing ‘industrialisation’ of university rankings and the development of ranking associated services including:

  • conferences
  • summits
  • data consulting and,
  • brand management services.

The variety of these services highlights the increasing number, the differentiation of ranking audiences and the ways in which university rankers cultivate target markets.


About the Speaker

Dr Miguel Antonio Lim

Lecturer in Education and International Development, Research Coordinator and Research Impact Coordinator at the Manchester Institute of Education at University of Manchester

Miguel is also a co-convenor of the International Researchers’ Network of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) and the Higher Education at Manchester Research Network.