NRC Doctoral Rankings and Computer Science

On September 28, 2010, in Misc., R&D in the Press, Research, by Peter Harsha

The National Research Council today released its long-awaited, long-delayed evaluations of U.S. doctoral programs in 62 different disciplines. The Computing Research Association released the following statement regarding the evaluation:

As an organization representing more than 200 academic departments of computer science, computer engineering, and related fields, CRA commends the National Research Council for undertaking its extensive and statistically novel evaluation of doctoral programs at U.S. universities and colleges nationwide.

However, CRA has serious concerns about the accuracy and consistency of the data being used in the evaluation of the Computer Science discipline.

CRA has identified a number of instances in which data were reported under different assumptions by institutions, leading to inconsistent interpretation of the associated statistical factors.

CRA has further identified a number of instances where the data is demonstrably incorrect – sometimes very substantially – or incorrectly measures the intended component.

CRA is pleased that the NRC acknowledges there are errors in the data used to evaluate computer science departments and that, in the words of NRC Study Director Charlotte Kuh, “There’s lots more we need to look at for computer science before we really get it right.”

CRA will continue to work closely with its member departments and the NRC to help correct these errors and determine more suitable data sources for the evaluation.

About CRA. The Computing Research Association seeks to strengthen research and advanced education in computing and allied fields. It does this by working to influence policy that impacts computing research, encouraging the development of human resources, contributing to the cohesiveness of the professional community and collecting and disseminating information about the importance and the state of computing research. For more, see http://cra.org.

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