I decided to write a non-fiction book with the title and subtitle RANKING – The reality, illusion and manipulation of objectivity. The book discusses the Hows and Whys of our love and fear of making ranks and being ranked through many real life examples to be viewed from three different angles (reality, illusion and manipulation) of objectivity. Ranking converts scientific theories to everyday’s experience by raising and answering such question as:
Are college ranking lists objective?
How to rank and rate states based on their fragility, corruption or even happiness?
How to find the most relevant web pages?
How to rank employees?
Life and society is really complex, consequently our message is not so simple such as ”Ranking is good!” or ”Ranking is bad!”. Since we permanently rank ourselves and others and are also being ranked, the message is twofold: how to prepare the possible most objective ranking and how to accept that ranking does not necessarily reflects our real values and achievements. The reader will understand our difficulties to navigate between objective and subjective and gets help to identify and modify her place in real and virtual communities by combining our human intelligence with computational techniques.
The Japanese translation of Ranking has been reviewed in the three big Japanese daily newspapers. As my colleague, Noriko Sugimori wrote me, Asahi is Japan’s New York Times. Nikkei is Japan’s Wall Street Journal. Youmiuri has the largest paper circulation in the world. For the reviews and her rough translation, see:
Forbes published an article of Jonathan Wai, who gave a new ranking of (not necessarily purely) undergraduate institutions based on the number of Nobel prize winners. Of course, only a small number of schools nurtured Nobel prize winners, the paper discusses the pros and cons of this ranking. (Dr. Wai: Thank you for the nice citation of my Ranking book.)
The rankings are based on 13 performance indicators, which are separated into five categories: 30 percent teaching (the learning environment); 30 percent research (volume, income and reputation); 30 percent citations (research influence); 7.5 percent international outlook (staff, students and research); and 2.5 percent industry income (knowledge transfer).
As you may know, I think “There are three different dimension of your reputation: who you ARE, who YOU SAY you are, who PEOPLE SAY you are. The first characterize your personality and identity; the second reflects your communication strategy, and expresses how you would like to be seen (as the cat says, ”I would like to be seen as a lion”; the third says how other stakeholders participate in the game describe you and your activity.”