As university rankings attract more attention and as national/regional policy discussions continue about whether and how to concentrate research excellence, Thompson Reuters have provided a little more detail about their plans to work with Times Higher Education to develop their own framework to support university profiling and ranking.
Our aim with the Global Institutional Profiles Project, which includes our work with Times Higher Education's World University Rankings, is to develop a data source that provides the best informed and most effective resource to build profiles of universities and research-based institutions around the world. The Profiles Project will create data-driven portraits of globally significant research institutions, combining peer review, scholarly outputs, citation patterns, funding levels, and faculty characteristics in one comprehensive database. Thomson Reuters also brings a celebrated legacy of data transparency to the Profiles Project, operating with clear methodology and data gathering practices. [Global institutional profiles project]
They announce their 'reputational survey', to be sent to a selection of researchers soliciting evaluation of institutions active in their research area. This will provide one stream of data among several. Another will be citation data from Web of Science, styled the "gold standard in research indexing".
Potentially, this is an important initiative given the influence of adopted metrics on behavior. Appropriate metrics continue to be the subject of debate (see for example the program of this NSF-sponsored meeting on scholarly metrics) of serious interest to research and science policy and funding bodies, as well as to institutions themselves.