Trinity accused of attempting to sway world rankings

Trinity College Dublin was recently accused of attempting to sway world university rankings by QS, one of the main world university rankings.TCD Vice-President and Dean of Research, John J Boland, sent out emails earlier this year informing academics that QS and Times Higher Education (THE) would be sending out reputation surveys, and providing the link for academics to sign up to become reviewers.The consequences of Boland’s actions have not yet been announced. Simona Bizzozero, head of public relations for QS, said “Any attempt to overtly influence a potential survey respondent to vote in favor of a given institution is unacceptable and where identified, such respondents will [be] excluded from analysis. Further consequences for the TCD, up to and including temporary suspension from the ranking altogether, will be considered.”TCD and other Irish universities, including UCD, have been falling in the standings for several years. This year, TCD fell to 78th in the QS rankings, from 71st last year. TCD remains the most highly QS ranked Irish university, with UCD falling from 139th to 154th this year.Times University Rankings reportedly did not have any issues with the email sent by Boland.The QS and THE rankings both use surveys for parts of their rankings. QS also allows individuals to nominate themselves to be surveyed. By sending out an email to encourage academics to nominate themselves in this way, TCD have opened themselves for criticism for attempting to influence the survey responses.TCD released a statement saying it regretted the letters. “Our letters were sent in good faith and called for participation in the surveys. At no time were they intended to influence the response of the recipients. We regret that our communication with our community on this matter has caused any concern.”