Measure 4: Output

How ‘Output’ was measured and the results the 2016 study produced.

The measures used in this module encompass research output and impact, student throughput, the national stock of graduates and researchers, the quality of a nation’s best universities, and employability of graduates. The variables are given below.

  • O1: (10%) Total articles produced by higher education institutions, 2013.
  • O2: (3%) Total articles produced by higher education institutions per head of population, 2013. 
  • O3: (5%) Average impact of articles as measured by citations in 2013 to articles published in previous years using the Karolinska Institute normalized impact factor. 
  • O4: (3%) The depth of world class universities in a country. This is calculated as a weighted average of the number of institutions listed in the top 500 according to the 2015 Shanghai Jiao Tong scores, divided by country population. 
  • O5: (7%) The excellence of a nation’s best universities calculated by averaging the 2015 Shanghai Jiao Tong scores for the nation’s three best universities. 
  • O6: (3%) Enrolments in tertiary education as a percentage of the eligible population, defined as the five-year age group following on from secondary education, 2013. 
  • O7: (3%) Percentage of the population aged 25–64 with a tertiary qualification, 2014. 
  • O8: (3%) Number of researchers (full-time equivalent) in the nation per head of population, 2013. 
  • O9: (3%) Unemployment rates among tertiary educated aged 25–64 years compared with unemployment rates for those with only upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education, 2013. 


The top two countries in the output module are the United States and the United Kingdom. The scores for the next five ranked countries are very close together, but in order they are Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada. The rankings are similar to last year’s rankings except that Australia and Canada have swapped positions. Israel has improved four places and is now ranked tenth. China has risen five places to 20th whereas Argentina has fallen five places to 41st.

The median increase in publications is 4.6% but much larger increases occurred in Indonesia (up 71% from a low base), Saudi Arabia (up 28%) and Russia (up 22%). Publications per head of population are now highest in Australia followed by Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland. The top two countries for average research impact of articles are Switzerland and the Netherlands. The next four countries have almost identical scores: in alphabetical order they are Denmark, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Malaysia’s impact ranking has increased seven places to 34th; India and China have risen six places; Bulgaria and Russia have each fallen ten places. Participation rates (O6) are highest in Greece, Korea, Finland, the United States and Canada. Russia remains the country with the highest-qualified workforce, followed by Canada, Singapore, Japan and Israel. The national stock of researchers relative to population is highest in Israel, Denmark and Finland; equal fourth are Korea, Singapore and Sweden. Unemployment of the tertiary educated relative to school leavers (O9) is lowest in Hungary, South Africa, Russia, Poland and Czech Republic. In five countries unemployment is higher for those with a tertiary qualification: Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan-China, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.