In a major coup in the world of university ratings, the University of California, Santa Barbara has just garnered high rankings from a trend-watching, national scientific institution based in Philadelphia. The prestigious report includes ratings of first-place for the university's departments of physics and materials.
The quality of UC Santa Barbara faculty's scientific research has, for the first time, led the Institute for Scientific Information to place the campus among the top 10 of the top 100 federally-funded universities in the nation according to its new Science Watch ranking.
Between 1993 and 1997, UCSB ranked ninth of 11 institutions whose rate of research paper citations caused the Institute's performance guide, Science Watch, to evaluate them as the "highest impact U.S. universities."
UCSB's impact placed the campus third in chemistry, eighth in geosciences, ninth in plant and animal sciences, and tenth in engineering. All of these standings reflect a relative impact rate of 98 percent or better above the world average.
"These rankings are based on the citations-per-paper score for each university in 21 fields," said Chancellor Henry Yang. "I am proud that the works of our colleagues at UCSB are ranked among the top 10 in six fields, including two first-place rankings.
"UCSB continues to shine. Our overall ranking has moved from number 12 four years ago to number nine among all universities, and is number four among public universities."
Under Science Watch's evaluation system the campus was in the top-10 echelon in six fields, which tied it with Cornell, UCSD, and the University of Washington. Among those which placed higher in the cumulative impact category were Harvard, Stanford, Caltech, Yale, the University of Michigan, MIT and UC Berkeley, respectively.
Impact in each field was based on the number of times papers were cited during the five-year period. This number was compared to a "world baseline figure," reported the newsletter. The result was a relative impact score, expressed as a percentage, that neutralized the advantage of quantity a larger department might have had over a smaller one. Each field required a minimum number of published papers.
In this way, UCSB's 432 material science citations had a higher relative impact (237 percent) than MIT's 755 (100 percent), which gave the campus one of its two first-place standings. The other field was physics where the department's 2,526 citations rang up a 176 percent impact in comparison to Caltech's 162 percent from 3,588 citations.