About Academic­Influence.com

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Our Mission

We are a team of academics and data scientists working to provide an objective, non-gameable, influence-based ranking for the people, schools, and disciplinary programs that make up higher education. Our aim is to identify and foster what’s best in higher education.

AcademicInfluence.com is committed to providing the best academic rankings available anywhere on the web. Our ranking metrics highlight the top schools, disciplinary programs, and academic thought leaders, but they can also be customized to the needs and interests of individuals (see, for instance, our Custom College Ranking tool).

Academic rankings are important, and everyone with a stake in education needs to know about them. Unfortunately, not all rankings are insightful or accurate. Many are in fact misleading and biased. Our aim is to do academic rankings right. Our watchword is that better rankings make for better educational choices and promote better educational outcomes.

In creating our ranking methodology, we engineered an innovative and unbiased ranking technology that employs machine learning to measure the impact of work produced by the world’s top institutions and academics. Accordingly, our InfluenceRanking™ engine brings to light and evaluates the influence of top institutions and academics across the world. Influence thus becomes our master criterion for assessing academic excellence.

In building our influence-based rankings, we insisted that they exhibit three key virtues:

TRANSPARENCY
The rankings should be transparent in the sense that all the data on which they are based must be publicly available. In particular, we wanted to avoid proprietary data available only to a given ranking company but unavailable to its customers. Our datasets include Wikipedia, Crossref, Semantic Scholar, IPEDS, and BLS. Thus, anyone should, in principle, be able to recreate our rankings off those datasets.
OBJECTIVITY
The rankings should avoid subjective assessments, as are inherent in reputation surveys and the biased tinkering with ranking lists that is so common in the ranking business. Once our data and our ranking engine are in place, our rankings occur without human intervention. True, our ranking engine does require a lot of careful programming and fine-tuning to amplify the signals of academic influence inherent in our data. But our aim is to let the data speak for themselves, and not make them say one thing or another. Our rankings are therefore objective and unbiased.
NON-GAMEABILITY
The rankings should be robust in the sense that people should not be able to make small changes to the datasets on which our rankings are based and thereby cause the rankings to change significantly. Because our datasets are huge and can be changed only with difficulty (Wikipedia changes must get past editors, citation information can change only with newly published articles, etc.), we’ve been able to build our rankings to be robust. This means that they are non-gameable. Non-gameability applies especially to our school rankings, which depend on the joint record of achievement of a school’s many affiliates (both faculty and alums), and which therefore cannot be changed except with enormous effort to modify the datasets.
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Who We Are, What We Do, and How We Do It

AcademicInfluence.com is an incredibly rich and varied website, with many powerful features to help readers explore the world of higher education. To assist our readers in understanding all that we offer, and thus not to miss anything of value on this website, please visit the following pages, which give additional context and rationale to our mission:

Our Team
Meet our core team, our academic advisory board, and our growing list of contributing writers.
Methodology
Examine how and why we rank persons and institutions by influence.
The InfluenceRanking™ Engine
Explore the nuts and bolts of our influence-ranking technology.
Concentrated Influence™
Learn about the influence-based ranking metric that’s ideally suited for identifying academic excellence at the undergraduate level and thus for determining what schools and disciplinary programs may legitimately be regarded as “best,” sans qualifications, for undergraduates.”
Measuring Academic Stewardship
Check out our ranking metric with the most far-reaching cultural implications, which, by gauging how wisely schools are stewarding their resources to acquire influence, spotlights the colleges and universities that are doing more with less.
The Ranking Metrics at AcademicInfluence.com
View an expanding catalog of the ranking metrics developed and used at Academicinfluence.com.
Our Videos and YouTube Channel
Academicinfluence.com is supported and enhanced through the production of videos aimed at helping our users derive the most benefit from this website.
Explainer Videos
View these short videos, usually only about a minute in length, that explain key aspects of the AcademicInfluence.com website.
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White Papers

The pages above describe the nuts and bolts of AcademicInfluence.com and its approach to ranking persons, schools, and disciplinary programs by influence. What follows below are more specialized articles — white papers — that delve into deeper aspects of our work on academic influence, and which in turn call for further explanation and clarification.

A New Philosophy of Academic Ranking
This white paper shows how existing ranking organizations use a fundamentally flawed multiple-criteria approach and contrasts it with our master criterion of academic influence as calculated through our InfluenceRanking engine.
The Use and Abuse of Academic Metrics
Metrics underlie college and university rankings. Some metrics confuse and undermine education, whereas others provide helpful insights and aids to education. This white paper shows how to separate the bad metrics from the good.
Interpreting Our Undergraduate Rankings of Best Colleges and Universities
This white papers examines an article titled “50 Best Colleges and Universities of 2021,” which is emblematic of our approach to ranking schools for the benefit of undergraduates using our concentrated influence metric.
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Some High Points at AcademicInfluence.com ...

Because AcademicInfluence.com is such an ambitious site, we want to call attention to the following especially noteworthy offerings:

The Custom College Rankings Tool
This is the most extensive ranking and filtering tool available on the Web for drilling down on the many different aspects of schools and degree programs.
The College Strategist Tool
As you start to consider where to go to college, this quick and easy tool is remarkably insightful at bringing to light schools that should be on your radar, identifying your reach, target, and safety schools.
The Search Schools Tool
This tool lets you look up colleges and universities worldwide, providing a snapshot of schools but also the opportunity to dig deeper into their influence profiles.
The Search People Tool
This tool lets you look up notable academic people, providing a snapshot of their influence but also the opportunity to dig deeper into what makes them influential.
Student Resources
Actionable information about admissions, degrees, financial aid, guidance, and test prep.
Ranking Articles
A growing body or ranking articles about people, disciplinary programs, and institutions. The rankings in these articles are determined by our InfluenceRanking engine. The articles themselves then elaborate on the rankings, outlining the record of achievements that led to the high rankings.
Interviews
Our growing body of insightful video interviews with some of the most influential academics (as gauged by our influence-ranking technology). In addition to spanning the full range of academic disciplines with these interviews, we also strive to keep them timely by interviewing new and upcoming talent!
Inflection Magazine
Our online magazine that focuses on what makes higher education exciting, interesting, and valuable.
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Newsroom

Press Releases & News Updates
Newsworthy AcademicInfluence.com announcements, press/media kit, and press release history.
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Promotional Consideration

Advertising, Sponsored Content & Guest Posts
Essential information for advertisers regarding content targeting and promotional fees.