The world's top universities

A power shift is afoot within the latest ranking of the world's top universities. What was once a Western dominated list is losing some ground to Asia.

Western universities still dominate the upper reaches of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. But a power shift is underway and the east is beginning to rise through the ranks.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings powered by Thomson Reuters judges research-led universities on teaching, research, citations (research influence), industry income and international outlook. Universities that do not teach undergraduates, only teach a single narrow subject or have produced research of fewer than 1,000 articles between 2007 and 2011 are not included in the rankings.

CalTech in California took the top spot for the third year in a row, followed by Harvard University, the UK's University of Oxford, Stanford University and MIT. The same institutions make up the top 10 as last year, albeit with some changes in the pecking order and there is minimal movement among the world's top 30, according to Times Higher Education, or THE.

However, Europe's national flagships are losing ground to institutions in the east. The premier-ranked institutions in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia, Belgium, Ireland and Austria all fell. Meanwhile, the top players in China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore rose up the top 200 list.

Asia also has six top 50 institutions, up from five last year, THE says.

THE editor Phil Baty says the shift is due to governments in Europe reducing or freezing investment in higher education as a result of the economic crisis. Meanwhile, governments in Asia are beginning to put money behind their universities to make them more competitive.

And with increasing globalization, competition for the foreign student-dollar matters. By 2020, there will be 7 million internationally mobile students, according to UNESCO.

The top 20 ranking is below. For a complete list or to search by region or subject go to the Times Higher Education Rankings page.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com