Leiden Ranking: find the best university yourself

What university is best depends on what you value most.
If you check out this ranking to find universities that have generated at least one thousand publications in a particular domain and find the 1 per cent articles that are most frequently cited, you will see Wageningen ranked 18 on the global list of life and earth sciences. Photo Guy Ackermans

Which universities publish the most frequently cited scientific articles? Which employs the most women? Which focuses most on open access? The new Leiden Ranking answers questions such as these.

The idea behind the Leiden Ranking is that you cannot simply rank universities according to quality since quality is determined by what you value. Thus, the Leiden Centre for Science and Technology Studies allows you to push the buttons yourself.

Scientific impact

You can access information on, for example, how many of the university’s publications are amongst the top within its domain, i.e., which articles published between 2019 and 2022 were most frequently cited? This is known as scientific impact.
But this is not an unequivocal criterion. If you take the top 1 per cent of all cited articles, Utrecht leads among universities in the Netherlands. However, if you take the top 5 per cent, Utrecht drops to fourth place, after the two Amsterdam universities and Wageningen.

In an even broader approach, which considers how many articles fall within the top half (the top 50 per cent most frequently cited publications), Utrecht University and Amsterdam top the list, followed by Groningen and Amsterdam in third and fourth place, respectively.


There are more indicators. The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a champion of collaboration. No less than 93 per cent of all articles published have been co-authored by someone from another institution or organisation. The University of Amsterdam and Maastricht also score over 90 per cent, while the  TU Delft scores lowest at 82 per cent. A Korean university leads the list, publishing 99.9 per cent of its articles in collaboration with others.

Open access

How many articles are freely accessible? In other words, are scientific insights published behind a paywall, or can anyone reap the benefits?
In terms of open access, the Netherlands is among the world’s leaders. Groningen leads with 98 per cent of its articles being open access, followed by Twente, ahead of a long list of British universities.

And how many articles were authored by women? A Saudi university stands out with almost 80 per cent of the authors being a woman. The numbers two and three are from Norway and Lithuania, with just over 60 per cent each.

Dutch universities are nowhere near that percentage. The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has 44 per cent female authors, Tilburg and Rotterdam 43. The Technical University Delft stays under 19 per cent.


You can also select different domains. Suppose you consider only institutes with over one thousand publications within a particular domain and then select the 1 per cent most cited articles; Wageningen features as number 18 on the global list of life and earth sciences, while Stanford leads that list. Within the domain of social sciences, the UvA is number nine on the list, and Harvard is number 1. Hence, you can keep on selecting and checking, which is precisely what the Leiden Ranking, of which this is the thirteenth edition, intends.


Other world rankings frequently include the universities’ reputation among scientists and employees. This aspect is not included in the Leiden Ranking.

HOP, Bas Belleman

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