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Why I Don’t Recommend CSRankings.org: Know the Values You are Ranking On

Professor Mark Guzdial
credit : University of Michigan

It ’ s the season for promotion and tenure packets, and starting to talk about lease priorities. doubly in one day last week, I heard people using CSRankings.org to make decisions. In one subject, the candidate was praised for print in the two conferences, as indicated by CSRankings.org. In another, person was saying that hiring a particular person might raise a department ’ randomness stead in CSRankings.org because they published in all the right places .
I don’t recommend CSRankings.org, and I discount letters that reference them.
CSRankings.org aims to be a “ GOTO Ranking ” of the populace ’ sulfur circus tent computer skill departments. It uses “ good data, ” that is “ open ” and available to all, with a “ Transparent process, ” and is “ objective ” because the ranking is distinctly measurable and computable. I understand the claim of “ objective ” in the sense that is measurable. What ’ s more, the standards used are described clearly in the FAQ ( see link here ) and even the source code that does the calculation is freely available. however, I argue that it ’ south “ immanent ” because it ’ second “ based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. ” It ’ s the opinion of those who contribute to the source code for how to rank CS departments. If you agree with those values, CSRankings.org is a great site. I can understand why many computer scientists use it .
I disagree with the values of the site .
It is America-first. For a inquiry area to be included in the rankings, 50 acme United States ( R1 ) institutions must have publications in the top conferences in that sphere in the last 10 years. While non-US institutions are included in the rate, which venues and inquiry areas count is determined by where US institutions print .
It is anti-progressive. The research areas and conferences included are the ones that are valued by the top researchers in the top institutions. These are the prove conferences. New areas and the energetic conferences will have to wait 10 years to see if they shake out. It ’ s a conservative rank. If you agree with the values in computer skill, then this is a reasonable choice. If you think that possibly computer science has gone ill-timed, then you probably don ’ triiodothyronine. I merely late take Emily Chang ’ s Brotopia ( see publisher link here ), then I am peculiarly leaning toward the latter perspective these days.

It is anti-interdisciplinarity. If you collaborate with scientists and engineers, the lone publications that count towards your department ’ sulfur ranking are the ones that appear in the most traditional CS venues. Any publications in other disciplines don ’ t reckon toward the quality and rate of your department .
These are the opposite of my values. I value and publish in external venues like the International Computing Education Research league ( ICER ), Koli Calling, and the Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education ( WIPSCE ). At some of these venues, there might not evening be 50 Americans in the room, let alone 50 R1 institutions over 10 years. I publish in my collaborators ’ venues which might vary from educational psychology to history department of education. I believe we should promote CS faculty who take risks, who explore new areas, who work with people in other disciplines and publish in those disciplines’ venues, and who engage with other parts of the world. Those people are a credit to their departments, and I personally rate more highly the departments who have such people .
education is an model of a research area that is hard collision by this organization. It ’ south new ( ICER was just established in 2005 ). The US is not the center of computing department of education inquiry. It is inherently interdisciplinary. People who do work in computing education literally don ’ t count towards their department ’ s quality in this outline .
As a computing application, CSRankings.org is reasonably cool. It does something hard ( ranking academic departments ) wholly through calculation. My values would be arduous to include in a rank system based entirely on computable data. But that doesn ’ thymine make me wrong .
A common error in calculator skill is to take the well computed answer as the chastise answer to hard problems.We develop a new technology and then ask “ possibly this technology X can solve this problem y. ” What we don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate often ask enough is, “ Is this a good solution to that trouble ? What have we lost by using the technological solution ? ” Ranking academic departments is a hard trouble. The 1988 Denning et aluminum. report “ Computing as a discipline ” ( see link here ) defines the fundamental inquiry question of computing as, “ What can be ( efficiently ) automated ? ” Implicit in that interrogate is the possibility that the answer is “ not everything. ” Ranking academician quality may not be computable in a manner that addresses our values. computable solutions are not the merely way to solve hard problems. The work of Joy Buolamwini and others show us that simply making something computable does not make it value or bias loose. Artifacts have politics .
I won ’ thymine warn you from using CSRankings.org. It may completely align with your values, so the site may be providing you a great service. I strongly ask that you consider your values, and ask about the values behind any rankings you use. I find CSRankings.org does not rank departments in accord with my values, so I won ’ metric ton commend it.

Mark Guzdial is professor of electrical engineering and calculator skill in the College of Engineering, and professor of information in the School of Information, of the University of Michigan .

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