Quacquarelli Symonds unhappy with emails sent to academics asking them to take part in survey

Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) in Ireland has had its knuckles rapped by university rankings group Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) over accusations it broke the company’s rules. Trinity College sent emails to academics, advising them of reputation surveys to be sent out by ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education. A letter from the vice-president and dean of research John Boland provided a link showing how academics could become reviewers for the QS survey.

‘TCD’s misguided communication has not had any influence on the surveys for 2016,’ QS noted.  But these communications appear to contravene our guidelines, it added.  

Trinity said it regularly provides updates to its faculty on its successes and achievements. ‘As part of that process, we recently reached out to this community advising them of the reputation surveys which would be sent by the ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education. Our letters were sent in good faith and called for participation in the surveys,’ a statement said. ‘The Times Higher Education ranking agency confirmed to us that they have no issues with the emails sent.’

‘Our policy doesn’t allow such publicity to tip over into canvassing for votes, even when that is done in good faith as it appears to be the case with TCD,’ says Simona Bizzozero, head of PR for QS. In recent years Irish universities have slipped down international rankings.   

QS notes an attempt to influence its surveys was made in 2013 and its policy was changed as a consequence.