The Tempinis diaries

September 6, 2008

Why Choose USM over UM?

On further research and reflection, I am coming round to the view that the conferral of apex status on USM over UM is a mistake. I did an ISI Web of Knowledge search this morning using the all databases section. This database search includes the highly respected Web of Science database which contains high impact scientific journals. Here are my findings when I typed in the following terms under the “address” field:

1. “University of Malaya” – results – 1,679 hits

2. “Malaya” – results –  7,076 hits

3. “University Sains Malaysia” – results – 160 hits

4. “sains malaysia” – results – 4,010 hits

5. “science malaysia” – results – 1 hit

6. “National University of Singapore” – results – 10,278 hits

7. “Singapore” – results –  79,679 hits

8. “Nanyang Technological University” – results – 1,586 hits

9. “Nanyang” – 20,032

Based on this very simple and primitive search, my impression is that USM is currently very far behind UM in terms of international reputation and publication record. In academia, the crude maxim of “publish or perish” still rings true. A university’s rankings and reputation is only as good as its publications and research. Based on the figures, USM still has a long way from catching up with UM, let alone placing in the top 100 universities in five years time.

I should add a qualification that I could be wrong, of course.  If USM’s “hits” were more recent than UM, then this could indicate an up and coming institution (USM) as compared to one resting on its laurels (UM).

Now the interesting question is whether Khaled Nordin and his Ministry of Higher Education do a proper analysis of these figures before conferring apex status to USM?


  1. Go to ISI Web of Science. Try searching Fun Hoong Kun and sains malaysia together. For Professor Fun alone, you should get a hit of >500 papers. Thus something is really wrong with your hit of 160. Maybe that is because you type ‘University Sains Malaysia’ when you should be typing ‘Universiti Sains Malaysia’. Your search on ‘sains malaysia’ is probably more accurate.

    Comment by Lee Chow Yang — September 6, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  2. Hi Chow Yang

    Thanks for your comments. But I dont think your point undermines my argument at all. Even if taking “Sains Malaysia” as the more accurate “hits” figure, the number shown is still 3,000 “hits” behind the search with the keyword “Malaya”. And you suggest that out of the 4,000 “hits”, 500 belongs to a single superstar professor.

    As I said in the post, I remain open to suggestion why this conclusion is wrong. I am not persuaded at the moment.

    Comment by toru — September 6, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

  3. ko yem binjai 19, 500 hits
    republic of malaysia (written by ko yem binjai) is 133,000,000 hits

    you are tagged.
    they are tagged.

    Comment by www bpa jpm my — September 7, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  4. Obviously you do not know exactly how to use ISI. Of course a proper validation (especially on number of publication) has been made by the committee. I have seen the figures (don’t have at hand) but definitely USM is the clear winner. You can get different numbers with ISI if your search strategy is wrong. Try to get a trained librarian to help and you will see the truth will prevail. Mind you, there are many aspects for the evaluation – publication is only one of them. I’m sorry to dissapoint you but this is the truth, nothing but the truth.

    Comment by AKA — September 24, 2008 @ 6:16 am

  5. AKA – how about showing your figures? Your statements do not reveal (a) the figures; (b) why my searches are wrong?

    Comment by toru — October 6, 2008 @ 1:34 am

  6. How educating, it’s totally a thread to read more of

    Comment by Hassan Craig — January 8, 2009 @ 5:54 pm


    Comment by godDAMNU — June 15, 2009 @ 6:15 am

  8. mana boleh evaluate dengan cara ni sahaja.. perlu ambil kira pendekatan yang lebih menyeluruh…
    ingin berkongsi pengalaman

    saya practical bersama 3 pelajar dari um dlm jurusan komputer. apabila tiba masanya untuk buat report, none of them berjaya siapkan report…
    apa yg dibuat, copy cat report yg sedia ada dan submit… end up success! even pensayarah dari um pon tidak dtg melawat ke industri untuk buat evaluation!
    bila ditanya spm : gred 1 with 18 ++ agg… bagaimana tapisan dibuat? ini kah hasil bagusnya usm? atau journal isi itu hanya untuk syok sendiri lecturer2? sebab nak kejar research university?
    entah lah…

    yg penting sebenarnya… setiap univ ni berkolaborasi dlm hasilkan research… spt yg berlaku di kebanyakn univ di uk dan us…

    Comment by zaf — November 3, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

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