Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda has been ranked 13th among Africa’s best universities, and top-most outside of South Africa and Egypt, according to the latest webometrics rankings.
Kampala International University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology came in second and third positions respectively in Uganda, followed by Kyambogo and Gulu universities.
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is an initiative of the cybermetrics lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.
The Webometrics survey that evaluated 11,993 universities worldwide based on their excellence, openness, and impact, put Makerere University in 13th position.
Out of 2,089 universities across the African continent, Makerere University is ranked 30th in terms of Impact and visibility, contributing to 50 percent of the rankings.
Makerere is also ranked 37th and 28th in terms of openness and excellence, contributing to 10 percent and 40 percent respectively. Impact/visibility looks at the number of links in the Web pages that refer to or have information about Makerere University.
Transparency or openness focuses at the number of citations of the works or articles by the staff of Makerere while excellence considers the number of papers among the top 10 percent cited in each discipline in the last five years.
Prof Cyprian Misinde, the director of quality assurance at Makerere University, said the university has not reached its target of being number one in Africa. “There are several reasons why we are not yet the first in Africa. One, many of our staff publish in closed-access journals. These are excellent journals, but may not be accessed easily since they require payment hence the articles they publish are not cited widely,” Prof Misinde noted. He added that many projects by Makerere staff are not uploaded on the website, which limits the global visibility and impact.
In order to strengthen Makerere’s position in Africa, Prof Misinda said the university is encouraging and exploring more partnerships with universities globally.
“Makerere University will also explore opportunities to sign MoUs with credible journals and publishers for Makerere University staff to publish in open access,” he said.
The vice chancellor of Makerere University, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, on his Twitter handle yesterday noted: “As top Law Schools withdraw from various university rankings citing credibility, we are going to review our participation in each of these rankings. We will subsequently decide on whether to continue participating in some or not all.”
This follows an article posted by WSJ, an international news website, stating that Yale Law School Harvard Medical School pulled out of the US news and world report’s medical-school ranking, which they have dominated for decades, issuing a significant blow to the credibility and power of the high-profile rankings
Kampala International University, which came in second position in Uganda and 56th in Africa, became the best private university in Uganda.
Mr Mouhammed Mpezamiligo, the vice chancellor of Kampala International University, yesterday told Daily Monitor that “This ranking is consecutive for the last 12 months. We are delighted once again to be the leading private university. We have now progressed to address a lot of systemic issues and made several improvements’’.
He added that their target is to produce relevant, appropriate and global skilled and entrepreneurial graduates enough to survive in the current job market.