The European Commission has committed itself to launch U-Multirank, a new performance-based ranking and information tool to be used for profiling universities. It is intended that the new system should radically improve the transparency of the higher education sector. It will move beyond the research focus of current university rankings and performance indicators produced in China, the US and the UK, and allow users to create individualised and multi-dimensional rankings and profiles by selecting the indicators of particular relevance to them, or for particular purposes. The aim is that the new tool should inform choice and decision-making by all higher education decision-makers and stakeholders. The new system will focus on universities performance in five areas: teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfe, international orientation, and regional engagement. But in addition to performance measures, it will incorporate some ‘enabling’ indicators, relating to the inputs and processes that facilitiate or underpin performance in each of the five areas.
The RIN is working with LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, to investigate the potential for introducing into U-Multirank soem enabling indicators relating to the support that libraries provide to underpin universities’ performance: measures relating, for instance, to the provision of study spaces, or to training sessions provided by the library, or to the levels of usage of library materials. The project will involve consultations with the Europeand Commission and other stakeholders, as well as with representatives of the library community from across Europe.