Journal of Data and Information Science ›› 2018, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (3): 81-98.doi: 10.2478/jdis-2018-0015

• Research Paper • Previous Articles    

Analyzing the Activities of Visitors of the Leiden Ranking Website

Nees Jan van Eck(), Ludo Waltman   

  1. Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands
  • Received:2018-07-14 Revised:2018-10-27 Accepted:2018-10-30 Online:2018-12-06 Published:2018-12-06
  • Contact: Nees Jan van Eck


Purpose: To get a better understanding of the way in which university rankings are used.

Design/methodology/approach: Detailed analysis of the activities of visitors of the website of the CWTS Leiden Ranking.

Findings: Visitors of the Leiden Ranking website originate disproportionally from specific countries (regions). They are more interested in impact indicators than in collaboration indicators, while they are about equally interested in size-dependent indicators and size-independent indicators. Many visitors do not seem to realize that they should decide themselves which criterion they consider most appropriate for ranking universities.

Research limitations: The analysis is restricted to the website of a single university ranking. Moreover, the analysis does not provide any detailed insights into the motivations of visitors of university ranking websites.

Practical implications: The Leiden Ranking website may need to be improved in order to make more clear to visitors that they should decide themselves which criterion they want to use for ranking universities.

Originality/value: This is the first analysis of the activities of visitors of a university ranking website.

Key words: CWTS Leiden Ranking, University ranking, University ranking website, Web log analysis