È stata recentemente pubblicata la seconda edizione del Ranking 2013 di Webometrics.
Gli atenei sono classificati sulla base di un indicatore composito che combina dati bibliometrici (il top 10% dei papers più citati in 21 discipline) e webometrici (raccolti lo scorso luglio).
Come sanno i lettori di Roars, queste classificazioni, più che strumenti scientifici sono strumenti di marketing, anche se in grado di influenzare (talora pervesamente) le politiche universitarie e della ricerca.
In ogni caso, ecco la “filosofia” di Webometrics:
The original aim of the Ranking is to promote academic web presence, supporting the Open Access initiatives for increasing significantly the transfer of scientific and cultural knowledge generated by the universities to the whole Society. In order to achieve this objective, the publication of rankings is one of the most powerful and successful tools for starting and consolidating the processes of change in the academia, increasing the scholars’ commitment and setting up badly needed long term strategies
The objective is not to evaluate websites, their design or usability or the popularity of their contents according to the number of visits or visitors. Web indicators are considered as proxies in the correct, comprehensive, deep evaluation of the university global performance, taking into account its activities and outputs and their relevance and impact.
At the end a reliable rank is only possible if the web presence is a trustworthy mirror of the university. In the second decade of the 21st century the Web is key for the future of all the university missions, as it is already the most important scholarly communication tool, the future channel for the off-campus distance learning, the open forum for the community engagement and the universal showcase for attracting talent, funding and resources.
È significativo quanto accaduto alla componente non bibliometrica del ranking Webometrics relativa a visibilità e impatto. Una componente importante, che pesa per il 50% sul totale dell’indicatore. In origine essa era costruita come segue:
The former method consists of combining the number of domains originating the inlinks to the university webdomain (backdomains) and the square root of the total number of those inlinks: sqr(backlinks). In this way it was possible to grant proper recognition not only to most popular web contents or most prestigious institutions but also to the diversity and strength of the impact sources.
Accade però che le università si attrezzino, non diversamente da quanto fanno alcuni gruppi e individui con le citazioni, per gonfiare il proprio score:
Unfortunately a few webmasters choose the easy way to obtain additional link visibility contracting external services of link farms or creating their own ones by forcing scholars and students to overlink to the university webdomain from external blogs or similar social tools.
I responsabili di Webometrics sono dovuti correre ai ripari:
In the current edition the top 10, an arbitrary number that is open to future modifications, sources (domains) of links and all the involved links are excluded from the impact indicator. For most of the universities this action exclude student blogs, sports teams pages, non-academic forums, alternative domains and mostly local sources of links, so true global impact is left as main component. Obviously bad practices are strongly penalized with the new system. In a few cases hacked websites due to poor management of the webmasters are being overlinked for more than ten domains, including nasty sources like pornographic, fake-products selling or hate pages. We are identifying these individual cases for exclusion.
On the positive side, we expect this change will promote internationalization of the contents. Webometrics is not only ranking websites but the overall performance of the universities. In that sense, it has a clear advantage on other similar rankings where results are obtained only after long-term efforts. A strong and well directed web policy involving not only ICT departments but everybody else in the university is going to have a huge impact in the Ranking.
Che crediate o no alla rilevanza dei rankings di Webometrics, potete divertirvi a consultarli qui: http://www.webometrics.info/en
Alla Sapienza saranno contenti di sapere che l’ateneo entra nei primi 100 al mondo.