Ranking the world’s top think tanks

In a recent ranking of the world’s top think tanks, only two Australian institutions make the cut. The Lowy Institute for International Policy is ranked fourteen in a list of the top think tanks in Asia while the Centre for Independent Studies ties with seven other organisations for 50th spot in a list of the top non-US think tanks worldwide. The Brookings Institution is ranked number one in the US.

Think study was conducted by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania. According to the report’s author, James G. McGann, "It’s the first comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks, based on a worldwide survey of hundreds of scholars and experts."

The think tank index appears in the January/February 2009 issue of Foreign Policy magazine. You can read the full report here: The Global “Go-To Think Tanks”.

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rozetz1
rozetz1(@rozetz1)
12 years ago

Tell me it isn’t true! The IPA didn’t make it?

Oh, wait, they’re more a lobby group than a think tank. Or maybe a groupthink tank?

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
12 years ago

The IPA wasn’t even nominated. According to the report:

… 407 think tanks were nominated by a diverse
panel of experts comprised of peer institutions, donors, directors of think tank networks, and representatives from intergovernmental organizations. Only those organizations that received two or more nominations were included in the final rankings process, most received well in excess of that number.

Without knowing who McGann and his associates chose for the expert panel it’s difficult to know what this means.

The report identifies Sydney as a regional think tank hub (along with Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo).

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
12 years ago

The endless fascination with lists and rankings. Though the methodology is better than for the dubious top public intellectuals list FP did with Prospect, measuring the performance of think-tanks in an objective way is impossibly difficult. We often end up using proxies like media mentions, but they are really only a means to the end of changing opinion and/or policy. And while changed opinion / policy can often be measured, the role of the think-tank in achieving that change is much harder to assess.

davebath
12 years ago

Andrew,
Take some of the kudos!! Forget the which metrics are used (which may be dodgy) and look at the quality of the product from you folk at the CIS.

Even a lefty like me has to admit the CIS stuff raises many valid points – deserving rebuttal rather than debunking, and the main source of disagreement with lefties stems from different sets of assumptions. I’d imagine that righties have the same respect for the CPD.

The grudging respect of antagonists is worth much more than the adulation of allies.

And the IPA doesn’t come close. chrysellis is right: lobbyists and perception managers for hire rather than a thinktank.

Sinclair Davidson
Sinclair Davidson
12 years ago

Lowy is 14 while CIS is joint 50? Let me call out in a loud and clear voice “Bullshit”! But it seems I misunderstood what Don had written. The CIS is 50th on a list of Non-US think tanks (table 3) while Lowy is on another lists of Asian institutes only.

Method here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/files/2008_Global_Go_To_Think_Tanks.pdf

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
12 years ago

Even lefties should admit that IPA, like Quadrant, makes some valid points as well, though they quite deliberately (and appropriately) have a different modus operandi from CIS.

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
12 years ago

I don’t know how impressed CIS people will be with the products of the CPD, judging from some of their fellows I am rather concerned!
http://cpd.org.au/about-us/fellows

How many of these folk have anything new and helpful to offer?

NPOV
NPOV
12 years ago

Rafe but surely you know that nobody since von Mises has ever had anything new and helpful to offer!

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
12 years ago

Thanks NPOV! To be concrete, how helpful is David McKnight and his take on the so-called neo-liberals? His book on Left and Right is a catalogue of errors, endorsed by about twenty of his colleagues and others like Robert Manne.

AdrienSword
AdrienSword
12 years ago

Dave Bath – The grudging respect of antagonists is worth much more than the adulation of allies.
.
Halle (fuckin’) loo-yah!!!