Not a single university from Bangladesh secured a position on the list of the Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2020 that features institutions not older than half a century.
The annual ranking list was released on Wednesday featuring 414 universities from 66 territories across Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America, Latin America and Africa. Last year, the ranking covered universities from 60 territories across the world.
The ranking is based on the same 13 performance indicators as the flagship "THE World University Rankings", but the weightings have been adjusted to give less focus on reputation.
Vice-Chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed told The Business Standard that the Bangladeshi universities do not work for the world ranking. But the foreign universities have a section that works for it.
"Even, the ranking authorities did not send any letter to us for attending the competition," he said.
"Actually, we have no trained manpower who can work to accommodate papers for ranking. We have started the training in this regard, but Covid-19 hampered our initiative," he added.
Professor Farid Uddin Ahmed said, "There is also another problem in Bangladesh as a few foreign students get enrolled in our universities. Lack of publicity and residential problems are behind the absence of foreign students here."
According to the ranking, Asia comes as a home to the world's top two leading young universities for the first time.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology tops the Young University Rankings for the third consecutive year while Nanyang Technological University, Singapore ranked second, up from third last year.
Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ranked second in last year's table but dropped out of the list after reaching its 51st birthday this year.
However, while Asian universities take the top two spots, the other positions in the top 10 split between Asia and Europe.
France's Paris Sciences et Lettres- PSL Research University, Italy's Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, and South Korea's Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology hold the third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The UK is the most represented nation in the ranking, with 36 institutions, while Spain has 27 and France and India have 26 institutions each.
However, Australia once again secures more entries than any other nation on the top echelons of the ranking. Seventeen Australian institutions feature top 100, up from 15 last year. Only France comes near matching this feat, with 14 entries. The UK has five.
India, meanwhile, achieves its strongest ever performance in the ranking, with two institutions in the top 70 for the first time: Indian Institute of Technology Ropar makes its debut at the joint-62nd place while Indian Institute of Technology Indore is 64th, up from 68th.
The performance indicators of the ranking are grouped into five areas – teaching and learning environment 30%, research 30%, citations 30%, International outlook 7.5% and industry income (knowledge transfer) 2.5%.
The research influence indicator looks at universities' role in spreading new knowledge and ideas.
The authorities examine research influence by capturing the average number of times that a university's published work is cited by scholars globally. This year, the ranking examined 77.4 million citations to more than 12.8 million journal articles, article reviews, conference proceedings, books and book chapters published over the five years.
The data included more than 23,400 academic journals published between 2014 and 2018. Citations to these publications made in the six years from 2014 to 2019 were also collected.