Monday, December 11, 2006

Not my fault

When visitors check the Webometrics Ranking of Universities, sometimes the institution they are seeking is not in the Catalogue or its classification is clearly below expected. There are several technical reasons for these situations:

Universities without independent domain name. The ranking and catalogue only include universities with their own institutional domain. More than 200 institutions worldwide are still publishing their pages in directories under the domain of their internet hosting company or other shared domain. Many African universities (Nigerian federal ones) prevent us of further WR calculation due to this limitation.

Universities with multiple institutional domains. Most universities have extra domains unrelated to main institutional one, usually devoted for specific and small impact projects or spin-offs organizations. However there some striking situations where two equally valid names are used for the same university or a large part of the sites are under another (older?) domain. It is not feasible to combine the data for the different domains and the global WR of the institution does not reflect its real impact. Two good examples are Imperial College (, and St. Petersburg University (,

Changes in the institutional domain. The use of a new domain imposes an important penalty in the calculation of several web indicators. Recent split of the Jussieu campus ( of the University of Paris (now, and others) can be cited. Unfortunately this is fairly common situation that affects even to universities in the Top 100, but a worrisome example is changes in the name of academic subdomains of many Indian universities, that could explain their delayed positions.

Use of shared domains. Different universities and research centres share the same or similar domains in at least two groups of French Universities: Marseille (almost fixed) and Strasbourg. This situation is a bit messy and web rankings of these institutions are not reflecting their true position. A similar situation could be applied to Helsinki University which on the contrary has an overvalued rank because the city also use domain!. There is no unique domain for the Universidad de la Republica of Uruguay, so each Faculty has its own institutional domain.