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Using data furnished by Clarivate Analytics, Reuters continues to update its annual listings of the world’s most innovative institutions. The previous installment featured the latest compilation of the top 100 innovative universities in Europe.

The focus now shifts to Asia, with a ranking of the region’s top 75 universities that display measurable achievement in steering their basic research toward commercial and industrial application in the form of successful patents. The complete Reuters story can be read here.

For this newest Asia ranking, the analysis drew upon a range of information tools from Clarivate Analytics: the Web of Science Core Collection and its coverage of roughly 15,000 scholarly journals and other sources; InCites, an analytic and benchmarking tool for assessing research performance; and extensive patent data found in Derwent Innovation, including Derwent World Patents Index®, a compilation of data from 50 worldwide patent-issuing authorities, also covering the influence of patents by tracking how frequently they are cited by other patents.

To ensure a sample of institutions with robust stores of filed patents, as well as cited patents, the analysis was confined to Asia-based universities that were named as assignees on 50 or more world patents between 2010 and 2015.

Patents, Papers Examined

Having determined the number of patents associated with each university, analysts assessed the success rate, along with the global reach, of those patents. In Derwent Innovation, the applicable metrics for this assessment include the “Patent Success” measurement, which supplies a ratio of all patent applications to those that are actually granted. The “Global Patents” score, meanwhile, expresses the ratio of patents that are filed with US, European, or Japanese patent offices. Because these international filings are expensive and labor intensive, a university’s pursuit of such applications conveys a belief in an invention carrying potentially substantial commercial value. Analysts also examined the impact of patents as gauged by the extent to which other patents cite them – a measure of the patents’ broader influence in ongoing research and development.

Additional analysis focused on the universities’ published papers. One measure determined how many times, on average, a university’s papers were cited by patents – evidence of a clear link between a university’s basic research and its influence in applied technology. Another metric examined how many of a university’s papers listed collaborating authors from an industrial or commercial firm – indicating a connection with the wider commercial world. A further measure of influence beyond academia was provided by examining citations to the universities’ papers, assessing the average number of those papers that were cited in publications listing industry-affiliated authors.

A final data point for each university was the number of papers (articles and reviews) indexed in Web of Science during the six-year period under study. Although this measure is size dependent and tends to favor larger institutions, it is balanced by other of the measures discussed above, which are size independent, allowing fair comparisons between institutions large and small. The intention was to provide an equitable mix of these measures.

Ultimately, the various indicators were used to rank each of the universities, and a composite score was obtained by summing the ranks for each criterion for each institution. The resulting list features 75 universities.

South Korea: KAIST, and more

Repeating its performance from last year’s ranking, South Korea’s KAIST (the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) takes top honors. The next two institutions are also the same as last year, only switching places: Seoul National University, third last time, rises to #2, while 2016 runner-up, the University of Tokyo, still registers strongly at #3.

Along with accounting for the two top finishers, South Korea achieves notable prominence atop the listing, fielding four of the top five institutions and half of the top 10. Japan, meanwhile, also makes an impressive show, with four of the top 10 placements. Once again, Tsinghua University is China’s top finisher at #6, up from #13 in the previous ranking.

In terms of overall representation, South Korea again stands out, with 22 universities, edging China – last year’s most-represented country – by one. Japan is next, with 19. As was the case last year, those three countries account for 83 percent of the top 75 most innovative Asian universities. Rounding out the eight represented nations: Australia scores with five universities, Hong Kong with four, Singapore with two, and India and New Zealand with one each.

Access the complete Reuters listings and coverage of the most innovative Asian universities here.

Explore the variables with Clarivate’s Ranking Simulator

In these times, universities are increasingly expected to be centers of innovation and drivers of economic growth, even while many public universities are grappling with reduced funding. For universities and all research institutions, access to specific data by which to gauge performance and allocate resources provides a crucial advantage.

Clarivate now adds to its store of performance-evaluation tools with the release of the Ranking Simulator. This freely available utility allows users work with the datasets in the “most innovative institutions” series. This includes not only the recently released European institutions but the new addition of the Asia data underlying the latest Reuters report. In due course, files covering additional global regions will be added.

With the Ranking Simulator, users can manipulate the specific data points discussed above and gauge the effect on overall performance. For example, what if a university increased its patent volume by 10 percent, or its share of articles written in collaboration with industry by 20 percent – how would these variations affect its ultimate placement? In all, 10 of the metrics behind the “most innovative” rankings can be adjusted.

For free access to the Ranking Simulator, please click here.