WEBOMETRICS RANKING OF UNIVERSITIES AS A FACTOR OF GAINING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE IN THE MARKET FOR EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Being a “window on the world”, the official website of an educational institution is among the most important means of promoting its activities, thus increasing its competitive advantage in the market for educational services. Providing a framework for efficient marketing, the functioning of the official website of a higher educational establishment represents a format of public relations, the outcomes of which depend heavily upon numerous factors. Presenting unbiased assessment of a university’s image formalised in terms of officially approved procedures is crucial for winning a respective market share. The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (also known as Ranking Web of Universities) represents validated data that must not be overlooked by both website administrators and those interested in evaluating a university’s image. Though taken with a great deal of scepticism by some universities, webometrics ranking nevertheless can make the difference when it goes about sprucing up a university’s image and successful appealing to its target audience.
The research work considers the issue of representing global rankings of educational institutions on their official websites as an element of marketing policies devised with the view of gaining a competitive advantage in the global educational space. It is highlighted that university ranks are based on applying diverse criteria and indicators as well as measuring respective values. Criticised are dishonest practices of providing false information aimed at increasing ranks of some educational establishments. The measuring indicators (availability, visibility, transparency (or openness), and excellence (or scientific character)) are analysed based on cybermetric data of research findings obtained by bibliometric methods.
The authors elaborated a set of recommendations as for increasing the efficiency of university website functioning. The key point is to comprehensively select, verify, present and expand contents of a website. It is highlighted that information on the official website of a higher educational establishment should reflect the whole range of educational, scientific research and administrative activities carried out by the academic staff and students. Blended together, they represent the business reputation of the university, which includes its reputation, prestige, partnering relationships, business contacts etc. The authors share their experience in implementing the above measures at Vinnytsia Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi State Pedagogical University.
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