How NetBig.com collects data


The data collection has been a long and careful process. We have done two different surveys, one with those established academics, another with the universities. The first survey with the famous academics aims at generating an expert opinion or peer review for the different universities. The second survey, sent to both university provosts and presidents, aims at soliciting first-hand statistics of different universities. In addition, we have collected statistics from both the government official publications and different university WebPages. These government publications include the Digest for Higher Education Research Statistics, Statistics for Chinese Educational Expenditure and References on Chinese College Entrance Exam, all published annually. The data we collected from the survey and Internet is more contemporaneous. The statistics in the government publications, on the other hand, are used in cross checking the data provided by the different universities and more importantly as a backup when the universities do not respond. By utilizing data from different sources, we hope our data contains the least error and our rankings can be made more objective and fair.

To accurately measure the academic reputation of different universities, we have done a survey with all 601 fellows of Chinese Academy of Sciences together with all the university presidents. The fellows are to give us expert assessments on different universities, and the university presidents are to offer a peer review. We have received in total the response of 218 fellows and 47 university presidents. Among the responding fellows, 32 are from the math-physics stream, 68 are from the technology stream, 37 are from the biology stream, 47 are from the chemistry stream, 34 are from geology stream. The overall response rate of the fellows is 36.3%. Many of the respondents are national celebrities and presidents of the most famous universities.

NetBig.com are lucky in channeling the opinions of the elite of the Chinese society. The responses, as would be expected of these prominent scientists, are very serious and of high quality. Some even came up with information we did not ask for. Many useful suggestions are offered. We are deeply impressed with the scientific attitude and social responsibility of these individuals. There are some movable incidents happening in the survey process. Due to our lack of information, we sent the survey letter to, the late Prof. Wang Ganshing, the architect of Chinese A-bomb and H-bomb, who unfortunately passed away half a year prior to our survey. We however received the response from his son Mr Wang DeJi informing us why Prof. Wang can no longer respond. The great Master¡¯s highly responsible attitude is obviously extended by his immediate family.

The survey result with the universities can hardly compare with the survey with the academic fellows. To make sure a decent amount of efforts would be spent in returning the survey, we have sent the survey letter to both the president and the provost of all the universities. We, however, only received 35 responses. The universities obviously are not quite used to the idea of a third-party rating agency, if not resist to the rankings. Those responded may however gain small advantage in our rankings, as their most updated information will be reflected in the rankings. For those who did not respond, we have collected their information from the official government statistics.

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