According to the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities, conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the University of Pisa ranks joint first with La Sapienza University in Rome for its academic quality.
ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of researchers selected by Thomson Scientific, the number of articles published in the journals Nature and Science, the number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance compared to the size of an institution. More than 1,000 universities are ranked by ARWU every year and the best 500 are published on the web.
Overall, 19 Italian universities appear among the world’s top 100 for 2013, putting Italy in eighth place worldwide, immediately behind France and Japan. US universities outperformed all other countries with 17 institutions in the top 20 and 149 in the top 500, followed by China (42 out of the top 500, albeit with none in the top 100), Germany and the United Kingdom.