Business meeting at the UCLM to improve its position in international rankings

The editor of the Ranking Web of Universities provides guidance to cross-sectional areas staff of the institution

The University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), in the context of the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan, has held a very important encounter with the researcher of the Cybermetrics Laboratory at the Institute for Public Goods and Policies of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Isidro Aguillo, editor of the Ranking web of Universities. This ranking classifies academic institutions around the world according to a detailed study about their online presence. Aguillo has offered to the UCLM staff, who belong to different vice-rectorates and areas, a set of guidelines aimed at improving the position of the institution in rankings based on webometrics, comparable to quality.

Thirty professionals from the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) have held a working meeting with Isidro Aguillo at the Campus of Ciudad Real today, editor of the Ranking Web of Universities, known as Webometrics, made by the Cybermetrics Laboratory at the Institute of Public Goods and Policies of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). This is the second oldest international ranking, published since 2004 every six months and aimed at providing reliable, multidimensional, updated and useful information on 24,000 higher education institutions worldwide, classified according to indicators mainly linked to the activity and the impact of their web pages.

The work session held today is part of the preparatory performing actions of the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, in which staff belonging to different vice-rectorates and areas of the institution working on cross-cutting areas such as the library, IT, planning and quality management, research or transfer and innovation have taken part. Isidro Aguillo has offered a set of guidelines to the participants aimed at improving the position of the UCLM in university rankings based on webometrics. To this end, he has delved into the redesign of tools such as the web portal, the use of blogs on the part of staff, encouragement of the use of institutional repositories, enrichment of the professional’s directories, spreading of unique research identifiers or the integration of the research portal with databases of scientific journals, among others.

The researcher of the Cybermetric Laboratory has justified the webpage as the primary indicator to measure the performance of an academic institution as it is the “best showcase of a university” to attract talent, students as well as funding and resources of all kinds, as “it reflects all the activities and achievements at a global level”. Having remarked the importance of the web as a tool to provide a good image of the university, Aguillo has warned that “if the web performance is below expectations could be due to lack of commitment to electronic publishing or web malpractices “.

During their meeting, Isidro Aguillo, who was introduced by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Economy and Planning of the UCLM, Manuel Villasalero, explained that for a good web presence and, for that matter, a good position in the ranking it is necessary that the governing bodies at the university promote open publication and governance transparency implementing them on the web; a “bottom-up approach”, in other owords, collaboration and effective involvement of all the people within the institution, be given because “that will help the University to have a more visible position in the world” .

The July edition of the Ranking Web of Universities placed the UCLM at the 18th position nationally and 431 worldwide. During his meeting with professionals from the Regional University, Isidro Aguillo has insisted that the key to improve the positioning in this ranking is ” to create closely linked services on the web” that is, internal services, as well as others also called “glocal”, in other words, “having a global impact, but developed from a local point of view.”

Isidro Aguillo has claimed that the work and effort to improve the presence of the University in the Ranking Web of Universities, in particular, and generally the rest of rankings have their advantages. He cited some individual advantages among others, because “if a professional has good Internet presence may be required by third parties anywhere in the world as an expert in the field”; and collective advantages, because “we are in a global market and the better position in the ranking, the institution will have greater ability to attract talented teachers, good students and resources.”

Finally, Aguillo has valued the influence of the rankings in the academic community as resources to increase transparency and scientific production at the institutions, to publicize new universities, and to provide guidelines to the students in their choice when continuing their postgraduate studies.

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Press release office, UCLM. Ciudad Real, April 18, 2016