MALAYSIA’S universities have to improve the quality of research if they want to improve their standings in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings in future years according to THE rankings editor Phil Baty in a statement announcing THE’s inaugural Asia-Pacific (APAC) University Rankings last week.

THE’s Asia-Pacific University Ranking 2017 analysed universities across 38 nations in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania to reflect the region’s growing strength in the higher education sector. The overall ranking features just over 200 universities from 13 nations.

Baty said Malaysia and Indonesia are two emerging players that are shown to have great potential, if they can improve the quantity and quality of research in the same vein as some of their neighbours.

Seven Malaysian institutions are featured in this ranking that lists the prestigious universities in the Asia Pacific region, and five of these are in the top 200. The country is led by both Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in the joint 121-130 band.

Baty said: “Malaysia’s universities generally perform well when it comes to their international outlook, but achieve low scores for research impact (citations).

“While the country is building its research capacity it will need to improve the quality of research if it wants to improve its standing in this ranking in future years.”

The National University of Singapore claims the top spot, Peking University, the University of Melbourne, Tsinghua University and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University in second, third, fourth and fifth places respectively.

“The Asia-Pacific is considered one of the most important higher education and research regions in the world and this ranking proves what a diverse and dynamic part of the world it is.

“While Japan is the most-represented country in the table and universities in Australia and New Zealand feature prominently, countries with less established higher education sectors are among the stand-out performers,” Baty added.

He said universities in China, Hong Kong and South Korea all make the top 20. In fact, China and Hong Kong are home to the region’s top performers in three out of the five pillars underpinning the ranking — teaching, research and international outlook.

Overall, the ranking provides a picture of the countries and universities that are set to become world-leading higher education players over the coming years.

There is no doubt that several of these will be within the Asia-Pacific, Baty said.

THE World University Rankings judge research-intensive universities across all their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

This ranking moves away from the traditional behemoths of higher education and looks at universities that have been established in the last five decades.

The Asia-Pacific University Rankings use the same 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons. The weightings are specially adjusted to reflect the younger profile of some of the universities in the region.

For full results and analysis, go to

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