An upward trend
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a ‘university ranking’. Rather, what we have are rankings of certain attributes or characteristics of universities (much like those we might expect to observe in the case of an individual, for instance: age, weight, height or intelligence).
With this caveat in mind, when the criteria used in a ranking can be tracked over time, observing how a university’s relative position has evolved can provide valuable and pertinent data.
So, how has the University of Granada’s position evolved in recent years, according to international rankings? Let us examine a number of internationally renowned rankings based, to a large extent, on objective measurements of scientific and research output.
Perhaps the most high-profile of all is the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Rankings. In this ranking system, the UGR has substantially improved its position over the last ten years, rising over 200 places in total. It now occupies its highest position ever since the ARWU was launched, attaining a place among the top 201-300 universities in the world (ARWU 2016) . To be precise, the UGR has been ranked 247th in the world and 2nd Spain in the ARWU in 2016.
Figure 1. Evolution of the UGR in the ARWU ranking
The UGR is second only to the University of Barcelona in the ARWU, overtaking important Spanish institutions such as the Complutense University of Madrid, the Autonomous University of Madrid, the University of Valencia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Moreover, the UGR is the only university from the Autonomous Region of Andalusia to have earned itself a place in the ARWU this year.
From the perspective of specialist areas in the ARWU rankings, the UGR is outstanding in the broad subject field of Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences, currently holding 45th position in the world (ARWU 2016) . Moreover, in the 2015 ARWU, the UGR was ranked 42nd in the world in the discipline of computer science.
We find a similar trend reflected in another prestigious ranking system — the Scimago Institutions Rankings — in which the UGR is currently ranked 10th from among 248 institutions in Spain (SIR 2016) .
Meanwhile, in the 2016-2017 edition of the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP 2016-2017) , the UGR has attained 241st position in the world and 6th in Spain. It has also moved up 30 places in the CWTS Leiden Ranking, achieving 238th position in the world and 4th in Spain in 2016 – its best-ever performance in this ranking system (CWTS 2016) .
Finally, in a ranking that examines scientific activity and scholarly communication on university websites, rather than research, in the Webometrics Ranking the UGR currently holds 178th position in the world and is ranked 6th in Spain (Webometrics 2016) .
URAP by disciplines
According to the 2015-2016 URAP rankings, the UGR is among the top universities in the world in terms of scientific output in an extensive range of disciplines. Its position relative to other Spanish universities is indicated here in brackets for the following disciplines:
In the top 200 worldwide band, the UGR has achieved the following results in the URAP field-based rankings at an international level (2015-2016):
The data presented in this article, highlighting the UGR’s continual progress in global university ranking systems, is just that; data. However, considering the socio-economic context in which the UGR operates and the resources-per-student at its disposal, this progression has been highly positive, and is a clear indication of the University's unyielding commitment to excelling in higher education.