Academy Rankings Tell You a Lot, But Not Who's No. 1 in Any Field

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Science  01 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6000, pp. 18-19
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6000.18

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This week's release of the long-awaited assessment of the quality of U.S. research doctoral programs by the National Academies' National Research Council (NRC), the first since 1995 and 3 years behind schedule, disgorges a massive amount of information about 5100 doctoral programs in 62 fields at 212 U.S. universities. More than a decade in the making, the assessment is meant to reflect the collective wisdom of the U.S. research community on what defines a top-quality graduate program. But those who simply want to know who's No. 1 in neuroscience or read a list of the top 10 graduate programs in any particular field will walk away disappointed, because the NRC assessment can look quite different depending on your definition of "best."