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The impact of internationalization in academic rankings

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The concept of internationalization has been gradually applied to higher education as a measure of quality and as a strategic process for universities to meet the challenges of a complex global context. One aspect that reflects the importance of internationalization for higher education is its inclusion as an indicator of quality reputation in university rankings, which have been significantly influencing academic and government policies. Despite the prestigious status acquired by the university rankings, their indicators still reflect a certain obscurity and consequently raise some criticism on their ability to assess quality in education. In this context, this article aims to present the main higher education rankings, with a focus on the indicators related to internationalization. Three international and three national rankings are analyzed. International research is the most significant internationalization indicator according to the investigated rankings, partly because of its quantitative approach, which allows the cross-country analysis. In the absence of qualitative and contextualized analyses, with indicators and weightings being adopted according to theoretical justifications, the rankings end up not covering all objectives and missions that permeate universities around the world and the complexity of internationalization in higher education.


Fernanda Geremias Leal    
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Luciane Stallivieri    
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Mário César Barreto Moraes    
Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina


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