World Class Universities: Experience of Identification

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-1-104-113

E. Balatsky (,
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, 4, 4-th Veshyjakovskii Pr., Moscow, 109456, Russian Federation;
Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences (CEMI RAS), 47, Nachimovkii Prosp., Moscow, 117418, Russian Federation;
N. Ekimova (,
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, 4, 4-th Veshnyakovskii Pr., Moscow, 109456, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article discusses the concept of the world-class universities and introduces the author’s understanding of this term that allows not only identify these objects but also quantify their international potential. The international position of the leading universities from different countries of the world, including states in Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East, Latin America and “The Small British Union”, were analyzed based on the data from rating agencies (QS, THE, ARWU, CWUR, NTU). The Rating of the World-Class Universities, including 107 leading universities of the world, and the Rating of National University Systems, covering 42 countries, were built. Also, it is shown that nowadays the American university system is an inaccessible leader. Taking this into account, the interest is concluded in the comparative analysis of the university systems of Asia and Europe. It is introduced that nowadays Asia is almost equal to continental Europe in potential of the university system and ready to make the next step towards its advance. Russia is close to the countries of Latin America in the parameters of the university system. It is shown that for today in Russia only Lomonosov Moscow State University is relevant to the criteria of a world-class university. Moreover, different models of building university systems are introduced on the example of some European countries. It is obvious that some countries make accent on the wide net of the superior universities while others practice point strategy of creating a small number of very strong world-class universities. There is introduced a hypothesis about the statement that education is the “secondary” function of the society and follows the successes and needs of the real economy. That is obvious on the example of the Asian counties. This hypothesis is refined with another thesis, according to which there is a close connection between the amount of the world-class universities and global high-technological corporations of a country. This thesis is illustrated by several particular examples (Finland, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil). Paying attention to the fact that even such big and economically strong countries of Asia as India, Malaysia and Indonesia do not yet have a full-fledged world-class university, we can confirm lethargy of the educational system of such countries as compared to the real sector of economy. In addition, possible generalization of the identifying algorithm of the world-class universities is introduced. 

Keywords: world-class universities, international educational potential, rankings 


1. Russian Academic Excellence Project (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.08.2017).

2. The Association “Global universities” (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 28.08.2017).

3. Meeting with Rector of the Higher School of Economics Yaroslav Kuz’minov (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

4. Salmi J. Sozdanie universitetov mirovogo klassa [The Making of World-Class Research Universities]. Moscow, Ves’ Mir. 132 p.

5. Balatsky E.V., Ekimova N. A. Global’nye reitingi universitetov: problema manipulirovaniya [The Global University Rankings: The Problem of Manipulation]. Journal of the New Economic Association, 2012, no. 1(13), pp. 126-146.

6. Balatsky E.V., Ekimova N. A. Usloviya formirovaniya rossiiskikh universitetov mirovogo klassa [The Conditions of Formation of the Russian World-class Universities]. Society and Economy, 2012, no. 7-8, pp. 188-210.

7. Amsler S., Bolsmann . University Ranking as Social Exclusion. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2012, no. 2, pp. 283-301. Available at: (accessed 30.08.2017).

8. Rigoglioso M. The Demand for ‘World-Class Universities’: What is Driving the Race to the Top? Stanford Graduate School of Education. 2014. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

9. Stack M. L. What’s ‘World Class’ About University Rankings? Social Science Space, 13.10.2016. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

10. Hazelkorn E. World Class Universities and the Public Interest. Policy-Network, 03.03.2014. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

11. Liu N.C., Wang Q., Cheng Y., eds. Paths to a World-Class University: Lessons from Practices and Experiences. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense. 2011. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

12. Shen Guanzi. Building World-Class Universities in China: From the View of National Strategies. Global University Network for Innovation, 26.10.2015. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

13. Wang Q., Cheng Y., Liu N.C., eds. Building World-Class Universities. Different Approaches to a Shared Goal. Sense Publishers, 2013. 226 p.

14. Liu N.C., Cheng Y. The Academic Ranking of World Universities. Higher education in Europe, 2005, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 127-136. Available at:,%20N.pdf (accessed 30.08.2017).

15. Balatsky E. V. Universitetskie endaumenty i konkurentosposobnost’ rossiiskikh vuzov [University Endowments and the Competitiveness of Russian Universities]. Moscow, Buki Vedi, 2017. 84 p.

16. QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. Topuniversities. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

17. Ranking of World-Class Universities. Non-ergodic economy, 21.05.2017 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

18. Ranking of National University Systems. Non-ergodic economy, 21.05.2017 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

19. MSU is dead?… Long live the HSE?]. Portal Naslednik, 2017. Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

20. Balatsky E.V., Ekimova N. A. Reitingovanie uchastnikov rossiiskogo rynka ekonomicheskikh issledovanii [Ranking the Participants of Economic Studies Market in Russia]. Journal of Institutional Studies, 2015, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 102-121.

21. Taleb N. Antikhrupkost’. Kak izvlech’ vygodu iz khaosa [Antifragile. Things that gain from disorder]. Moscow, KoLibri, 2014. 768 p.

22. The Ten Largest Companies in South Korea by Market Capitalization. Asia Report, 09.12.2010 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017).

23. National Brands of Finland., 26.01.2012 (In Russ.) Available at: (accessed 07.06.2017). 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Balatsky E., Ekimova N. World Class Universities: Experience of Identification. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 104-113.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 5
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?
  • Contemporary U.S. Taiwan Policy: Balancing on the Edge
  • The Gulf Monarchies’ Vision of the Global Order Transformations and the Russian Place in It
  • At Post-Soviet Space
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.