Otago drops in academic ranking

The University of Otago has dropped in an annual list of the world's top universities.

The university was ranked in the 300-401 band of the top 500 universities in the world in Shanghai Ranking Consultancy's Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016, the first time in eight years it has not been in the top 200-301.

University of Otago deputy vice-chancellor Prof Vernon Squire said the drop was because of a change in the way academic citations were measured by the ranking system.

''One of the effects of this change is greater year-to-year volatility.

''For the 2016 ranking, this volatility has worked against us, and in favour of some other universities.''

Otago University was the only New Zealand institution to drop in the list since it was last ranked.

The University of Auckland was ranked in the top 151-200 universities, an improvement on 2015 when the institution was ranked in the top 201-300.

The University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington both moved from the 401-500 band when they were last ranked in 2014, to the 301-400 group.

It was important to understand some movement within the rankings was ''quite normal'', Prof Squire said.

The university would continue to focus on quality teaching and research.

''These are the things that sustain a university's reputation and, with that, ensure a continued strong performance across all the key rankings going forward.''

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