Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
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The rigorous 2009 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities puts Melbourne at No. 51 in the world (up from 58 in 2008 and 64 in 2007) and No. 4 in the Asia-Pacific region (No. 5 in 2008).
This ranking, by the Higher Education Evaluation & Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT), evaluates and ranks the scientific paper performance of the world’s top 500 universities.
In Australia, Melbourne again ranks significantly ahead of the Universities of Sydney (72), and Queensland (100), the Australian National University (159), the University of New South Wales (148) and Monash University (142).
The Top 100 HEEACT rankings are again led by North American universities, with mainly United Kingdom, European and Japanese universities.
Melbourne’s strong performance in the HEEACT rankings follows confirmation in June 2009 of its No 1 position for research publications in Australia by the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).
Over the last three years the University of Melbourne improved in all HEEACT criteria, especially in current articles, 11 years citations and current citations. Melbourne is in the top 100 in all but one of the discipline fields. The rankings in detail are: 11 years articles (62), current articles (28), 11 years citations (81), current citations (33), average citations (256), H-Index (51), Hi-Ci-papers (92), Hi-Impact journal articles (30).
In the Asia-Pacific Universities, Melbourne comes in at No 4 behind the University of Tokyo (14), University of Kyoto (28) and Osaka University (35), followed closely by Tohoku University (52).
Performance measures for the HEEACT rankings comprise eight indicators to assess a university’s overall scientific paper performance and three criteria: research productivity (20 per cent), research impact (30 per cent) and research excellence (50 per cent). Quantitative data drawn from the Science Citation Index (SCI) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are used to evaluate performance.
The authors of the HEEACT rankings claim the emphasis on current research makes it fairer than some traditional indicators, such as a university’s reputation or the number of Nobel Laureates, which tend to favour universities with longer histories or universities in developed countries.