Finally, a ranking of universities that isn't terrible.
As with almost all other attempts to do this sort of thing, universities in the English-speaking world got a boost. For example, here is what the analysis writes about Russia's best university:
Lomonsov(sic) Moscow State University's appearance is especially impressive given the severe financial and political problems of operating in Russia. It is well-liked by academic peers across the world but shows up poorly in citations per staff member.
Or about Japan's top university:
Japan, the world’s second-largest economy, has six of the top 40 universities in the rest of the world, including Tokyo and Kyoto,traditional sources of the country’s most prominent political and business leaders. Tokyo is by some distance the highest ranking university in this group on the peer review criterion and overall. Its strong peer review success also propels it to 12th place in
the world overall. By contrast, it is poor at attracting both staff and students from overseas and middling at citations.
Obviously, universities outside the English-speaking world will do poorly in citations if you measure citations in English-language journals. (And actually the effect will still be present, though in lesser form, if you extend your citations ranking to non-English language journals. This is because there are more citations per person in bigger academic communities, and communities restricted to a given country are , as a rule, smaller).
Another strange thing about this ranking is the freakishly high placement of the University of Massachusetts - above Duke, Brown, NYU, and Rice.
Overall, though, this is arguably the best ranking to date. It is also a nice counterpart to the horrible US News, which has an annoying bias in favor of liberal arts colleges with mediocre faculties.