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Recently there are many organizations conducting projects on ranking world universities from different perspectives. These ranking activities have made impacts and caused controversy. This study does not favor using bibliometric indicators to evaluate universities’ performances, but not against the idea either. We regard these ranking activities as important phenomena and aim to investigate correlation of different ranking systems taking bibliometric approach. Four research questions are discussed: (1) the inter-correlation among different ranking systems; (2) the intra-correlation within ranking systems; (3) the correlation of indicators across ranking systems; and (4) the impact of different citation indexes on rankings. The preliminary results show that 55 % of top 200 universities are covered in all ranking systems. The rankings of ARWU and PRSPWU show stronger correlation. With inclusion of another ranking, WRWU (2009–2010), these rankings tend to converge. In addition, intra-correlation is significant and this means that it is possible to find out some ranking indicators with high degree of discriminativeness or representativeness. Finally, it is found that there is no significant impact of using different citation indexes on the ranking results for top 200 universities.

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