University of Malawi (Unima), the country’s first public university, has registered an improved rating on the continent to position 61 from 99 among the top 100 African universities, according to Journals Consortium 2015 Ranking of African Universities and Higher Learning Institutions.
With a total influence factor—the sum of research publication and citation score plus the Internet/web presence score of 22.42—Unima is on position 21 in the southern Africa region.
Speaking in an interview yesterday on the development, Unima pro-vice-chancellor Professor Alfred Mtenje said it would be too soon to know the factors that have influenced the improvement.
However, Mtenje said some of the reasons could be the fact that the university has increased its research productivity as well as visibility of publications.
Said the pro-vice-chancellor: “Our research productivity has increased since the last ranking took place. The university’s visibility of publications has also increased as we are making use of our information and communications technology [ICT] structures.”
But Mtenje said it would be speculation to attribute the improvement to the fact that College of Medicine (CoM), a Unima constituent college, was rated separately in the last ranking, but has now been incorporated under Unima.
The top 10 is dominated by universities from South Africa (SA) with University of Cape Town on position one with a total influence factor of 45.02, Cairo University in Egypt is ranked second with a total influence factor of 43.43 and University of Pretoria (SA) on third position with 43.35 total influence factor.
Others in the top 10 include University of Nairobi in Kenya, University of South Africa (SA), University of Witswatersrand (SA), Stellenbosch University (SA), University of Kwazulu Natal (SA), University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Ain Shams University (Egypt).
Malawi’s neighbours, University of Zimbabwe is on position 35 with a total influence factor of 29.47, University of Botswana rated on position 37 with a total influence factor of 28.72 and University of Zambia is following on position 38 with a total influence factor of 28.39.
Other neighbouring institutions scored as follows: University of Dar es Salaam on position 39 with a total influence factor of 28.10 and Mozambique’s Universidade Eduardo Mondlane falling on position 84 with a total influence factor of 18.20.
According to Journals Consortium website, the ranking is based on research publications and citations from the last five years (2010 to 2014) as well as visibility on the Internet.
“The Research Publication and Citation [RSC] score is directly proportional to the number of publications and citations of a university or higher institution for the previous 5 years. Journals Consortium utilises the publications and citations scores available on Google Scholar. The Internet/web presence [IWP] is also directly proportional to the number of times the university or higher institution appears on the Internet,” reads the methodology used.
Also on the list of 1 447 universities are Mzuzu University (Mzuni) on position 296, Catholic University of Malawi (Cunima) on position 746, University of Livingstonia (Unilia) on position 1 058 and Malawi Adventist University on position 1 234.
Conspicuously missing on the list is the newly established Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) which was delinked from Unima and newly opened Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must).
Malawi has four functioning public universities, namely, Unima, Mzuni, Luanar and Must. Cunima, Unilia and Malawi Adventist University are privately owned.