Muscat: Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) has climbed from 650 to 601 in 2014 and 550 to 501 in 2015 in the QS World University rankings. Among universities from the GCC countries listed in 2016, SQU was ranked number 7.
The QS Rankings, which began in 2004, rank universities based upon their reputations and academic activities.
SQU’s improvement was partially due to its score in citations per faculty criteria, which is an indicator of the quality of research. This reflects the increase in the number of citations SQU’s research publications are receiving.
SQU took a number of steps to improve these criteria. In a campus-wide campaign, staff members were encouraged to register in international research databases where their research would be more visible.
Also, a publication award system was introduced in SQU, where researchers were given monetary benefits if they published high quality research. Collectively, the institution was working towards improving the research quality, whichwas reflected in the ranking.
SQU adopts a balanced approach to rankings. It utilises rankings for comparing the overall performance of an institution, with respect to others around the world, and determining its strengths and weaknesses.
Planning and policy making, in the long term, incorporates aspects of rankings. SQU believes that rankings add prestige to an institution, inculcates institutional loyalty, instills national pride and is important in attracting high calibre staff and students. Overall, this helps in developing healthy competition between institutions, both locally and internationally, and encourages institutions to improve themselves.