International University Ranking Systems and Their Relevance for the Medical and Health Sciences – A Scoping Review

Adeline Dugerdil, Lara Sponagel, Awa Babington-Ashaye, Antoine Flahault


Medical and health sciences are disciplines of paramount importance in academia. Universities face a crucial challenge in training qualified health experts for teaching and research in these disciplines. With the globalization of the higher education system, international university ranking systems are an increasingly used tool to assess the excellence of universities and help students and researchers to choose an institution. We conduct a scoping review using Web of Science and Google Scholar to search for scientific literature written in English, published between January 2019 and March 2022. We aim to understand to what extent international university ranking systems are adapted to the disciplines of medical and health sciences. We select any scientific article addressing international university ranking systems and their indicators or proposing a new international university ranking system or new indicators. We include a total of 55 articles. Among them, 10 articles propose a new university ranking system, nine propose a new method to analyze or improve existing international university ranking systems, three propose new indicator(s), and two propose a new database. Almost all articles include an analysis of existing rankings. We find no article that specifically addresses the ranking of schools of medical or health sciences. This scoping review highlights the absence of a specific international university ranking system designed for the disciplines of medical and health sciences. Future researchers could investigate how to develop discipline-specific indicators and promote a university ranking system dedicated to these disciplines.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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