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King Saud University's impressive showing in the 2010 Shanghai Ranking is evidence that Saudi Arabia's investment in education is bearing fruit. The University ranked 391st among the world's universities. Other universities in Saudi Arabia and the wider Islamic world that ranked among the top 500 universities included.

  1. University of Tehran, Iran (400th)
  2. University of Istanbul, Turkey (400th)
  3. King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia (480th)

Not only did King Saud University and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals rank highly among Islamic nations, but they ranked first and second, respectively, in the Arab world.

In addition, King Saud University ranks first among Arab universities in other prestigious ranking systems such as US World & News Report, QS World University Rankings and Webometrics. A comparative analysis is shown in the following table:

Name of the University Shanghai - 2010 QS – 2009 Webometrics - 2010
King Saud University 391 247 164
King Fahd University 480 266 178
King Abdulaziz University -- -- 291
Umm Al-Qura University -- -- 681

The Shaghai Ranking, known as Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), was first published in 2003 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and published by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy since 2009. Although the initial purpose of ARWU was to determine how Chinese universities compared to over 1,000 international higher education institutions, the annual ranking has become a global standard for assessing universities. A formula was developed to assess various academic strengths such as:

  1. the number of alumni earning a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal since 1901 (10 percent);
  2. the number of present faculty earning a Nobel Prize in physics, chemistry, medicine or economics and/or the Fields Medal in mathematics since 1911 (20%);
  3. the number of highly cited researchers in the fields of life science, medicine, physics, engineering and social sciences (20%);
  4. the number of articles published in Nature and Science between 2004-2008 (20%);
  5. the number of articles listed in Thompson Scientific's Science Citation Index Expanded and its Social Sciences Citation Index in 2008 (20%) and;
  6. the weighted score of the above five indicators divided by the number of full-time equivalent academic staff (10%).

The results of the Shanghai Ranking are announced annually on August 15th.