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Webometrics Ranks 20 Arab Universities in Top 1,000 for Research Visibility

Twenty Arab universities are among the top 1,000 in the latest Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, produced by a Spanish public research body. The ranking evaluates more than 33,500 universities in all, and 1,365 Arab universities are among them.

The Webometrics ranking compares universities on several measures of research impact and online visibility. Its primary objective is to promote open access to the knowledge a university generates by encouraging institutions and scholars to have a web presence that accurately reflects their activities.

Universities can improve their ranking by increasing the quantity and quality of their web content, Webometrics’ website says. It adds: “If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases of the volume and quality of their electronic publications.”

The ranking is produced every six months by the Cybermetrics Lab of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.

20 Leading Arab Universities

In Webometrics’ latest edition, published in January, the 20 Arab universities among the top 1,000 institutions worldwide included eight universities in Saudi Arabia, five in Egypt, three in the United Arab Emirates, two in Jordan, and one each in Qatar and Lebanon. 

Three Saudi institutions, King Saud University (in 290th place globally); King Abdulaziz University (370th), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (383rd) led the way.

Eight Saudi universities were among Webometrics’ top 1,000: King Saud University, King Abdulaziz University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Taif University, King Khalid University, and Umm Al Qura University.

They were followed by Egypt’s Alexandria University (494th place globally) and Cairo University (502nd), Qatar University (650th) and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (673rd). The University of Jordan was in 681st place globally, followed by the American University of Beirut (739th) and Jordan University of Science and Technology (757th).

The next ten top-placing Arab universities were Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University (769th globally) and Taif University (799th); the United Arab Emirates University (806th); Egypt’s Mansoura University (833rd) and Ain Shams University (899th); Saudi Arabia’s King Khalid University (932nd); the Emirates’ Khalifa University of Science and Technology (945th); Saudi Arabia’s Umm Al-Qura University (977th); Egypt’s Zagazig University (985th); and the Emirates’ University of Sharjah (994th).

Gulf States

Twelve of the top 20 Arab universities were from three Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. More than 270 universities in the Gulf states were ranked over all.

Sixty-eight Saudi universities were ranked in this edition. After the eight Saudi universities in the region’s top 20, five more Saudi institutions were ranked among the world’s top 1,500. They were Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University (in 1,074th place globally), Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (1,241st), Qassim University (1,289th), King Faisal University (1,318th), and Taibah University (1,387th).

Qatar had 17 ranked universities. After Qatar University (650th), the next highest-placed institutions were Hamad Bin Khalifa University (1,146th); Texas A&M University at Qatar (1,720th), whose campus is scheduled to close by 2028; and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (3,131st).

The list also included 70 Emirati universities. After the three in the region’s top 20, the next highest-placed institutions were Zayed University (1,442nd worldwide), the American University of Sharjah (1,464th), and Ajman University (1,931st). 

Thirty-eight Omani universities were ranked, topped by Sultan Qaboos University (1,046th), the University of Nizwa (3,073rd), and Dhofar University (3,557th).

Yemen had 52 ranked institutions, led by Sana’a University (in 3,640th place globally), Taiz University (4,373rd), and the University of Science and Technology in Aden (4,407th). 

Other Gulf universities included 14 Kuwaiti institutions, led by Kuwait University (1,948th), the College of Technological Studies (2,304th), and the American University of the Middle East (3,035th); and 13 Bahraini universities, led by the University of Bahrain (1,977th), the Arabian Gulf University (3,665th), and the Applied Science University of Bahrain (4,366th). 

Egypt and the Levant

Egypt had 79 ranked universities in this edition, including five in the world’s top 1,000. The next highest-ranked Egyptian universities were the American University in Cairo (1,088th globally), Benha University (1,122nd), Assiut University and Al-Azhar University (sharing 1,149th place), Tanta University (1,274th), and Kafr El Sheikh University (1,457th). 

Of Jordan’s 38 ranked universities, two were included in the world’s top 1,000. Six more Jordanian universities were among the world’s top 2,000. They were Al Balqa Applied University (1,375th globally), the Hashemite University (1,427th), Al Ahliyya Amman University (1,571st), Al Zaytoonah University and Middle East University Jordan (sharing 1,715th place), and Yarmouk University (1,835th).

Five universities in Egypt were among Webometrics’ top 1,000 institutions: Alexandria University, Cairo University, Mansoura University, Ain Shams University, and Zagazig University.

The American University of Beirut was Lebanon’s only university in the top 1,000. The next highest-placed among Lebanon’s 47 ranked universities were the Lebanese University, the country’s only public institution (1,859th); Saint-Joseph University of Beirut (2,005th); Beirut Arab University (2,501st), and the Lebanese American University (2,714th).

With 125 ranked institutions, Iraq led in the Levant in terms of number. The top Iraqi

institutions were the University of Baghdad (1,491st), Diyala University (1,724th), Mustansiriyah University (2,231st), and the University of Mosul (2,426th).

Palestine had 29 institutions in the latest ranking. An Najah National University, in Nablus, was first among them (in 1,573rd place globally), followed by the heavily bombed Islamic University of Gaza, in Gaza City (1,903rd).

Several Palestinian universities in the West Bank came next: Birzeit University, near Ramallah (2,132nd); Al Quds University, in East Jerusalem (2,241st); and the Arab American University, in Janin (3,335th).

All of Gaza’s universities have suffered damage or complete destruction in Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. One incident that stirred particular outrage was the deliberate demolition of Al-Israa University, south of Gaza City, on January 17. (Al-Israa was ranked in the latest Webometrics ranking.) In recent remarks in London, Palestine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hossam Zomlot, used the term “educide” to describe the Israeli assault on Palestinian education.

Elsewhere in the Levant, Syria had 43 universities in the latest Webometrics ranking, led by Damascus University (3,040th), Tishreen University (3,766th), and the University of Aleppo (4,742nd). 

North Africa

With 236 ranked institutions, Tunisia was the most represented North African country in the latest ranking. The top three Tunisian universities were the University of Sfax (2,486th); IRESA, Institution de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur Agricoles (2,991st), and the University of Tunis El Manar (3,238th). 

Morocco had 153 ranked universities, including four in the world’s top 2,000: Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech (1,300th), Mohammed V University in Rabat (1,564th), Hassan II University in Casablanca (1,915th); and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Marrakech (1,941st).

Algeria had 113 ranked institutions, led by Université des Frères Mentouri Constantine 1 (2,333rd), the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene (2,452nd), and the Université Abou Bekr Belkaid in Tlemcen (2,508th). 

Libya had 57 ranked institutions, led by the University of Benghazi (3,005th), the University of Tripoli (3,783rd), and Misurata University (3,991st).

Mauritania, had four ranked institutions, led by L’Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique (22,443rd), L’Université des Sciences de Technologie et de Médecine (25,262nd), and ENAJM, l’Ecole Nationale d’Administration de Journalisme et de Magistrature (25,321st). 

Other Arab African Countries 

Despite the ongoing war in Sudan, 60 Sudanese universities were on the list. The University of Khartoum (1,831st) led the way, followed by Sudan University of Science and Technology (2,190th), and the University of Bahri (4,733rd).

Seven other Arab universities in Webometrics’ top 1,000 were Qatar University, the American University of Beirut, the University of Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and three Emirati institutions: United Arab Emirates University, Khalifa University, and the University of Sharjah.

Somalia had 107 institutions ranked, led by SIMAD University in Mogadishu (6,142nd), Somali National University in Mogadishu (9,591st), and Edna Adan University (10,565th). 

Djibouti and Comoros each had one ranked university. The University of Djibouti placed 8,957th globally, while University of Comoros ranked 16,997th.

U.S. Institutions Lead Overall

As with other global rankings of universities, Western institutions led Webometrics list.

Nine of the top 10 universities were in the United States. Including Harvard University in first place, Stanford University second, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology third. The United States had a total of 3,151 universities ranked, including 15 among the top 20 and 53 among the top 100.

The only non-American university in the top ten was the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, which came in fourth. Other British universities in the top 20 were the University of Cambridge (12th) and UCL University College London (15th).

One Canadian institution, the University of Toronto, in 16th place, was among the world’s top 20. The only non-Western university in the top 20 was China’s Tsinghua University, in 20th place. It was among 13 Asian universities that ranked in the world’s top 100, and nearly 17,000 Asian institutions ranked overall.

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