UP Scores Higher than Harvard, Oxford in Health Field Research Citations


The University of the Philippines is among the top universities in the world when it comes to research citations in the health field.

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The top universities in the health field were the University of Oxford, Harvard University, and the University of Cambridge. In the overall rankings, UP fell to the 126 to 150 bracket. But it did even better in the subcategory of research citations.

UP scored 91.9 percent in its citation score in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings in the clinical, pre-clinical, and health subject. This places the university among the top 10 universities in the world for research citations for the leading universities in medicine, dentistry, and other health subjects.

UP scored even higher than the likes of Oxford (74.0), Harvard (66.7), and Cambridge (68.8). The top three universities in this subcategory were the Metropolitan Autonomous University (97.7) in Mexico, the University of Canberra (94.1) in Australia, and Pontifical Javeriana University (94.0) in Colombia.

In the overall university rankings, UP is the 65th best university in Asia and in the 401 to 500 bracket in the world.

What does this mean?

UP is clearly a frontrunner when it comes to research citations and research overall. The studies carried out by the university have already proven their worth, especially during the pandemic, when the university accurately projected the growth of COVID-19 cases time and again.

Research is crucial for future innovations and to address public health emergencies like COVID-19. Yet research requires money, namely investments from the government and private sector, which is something that’s evidently lacking in the country.


“UP’s high score is an indicator of the impact and influence of its research, which researchers from other countries have cited for succeeding studies and possible innovations,” said senator Pia S. Cayetano during a hearing on the proposed government budget for 2021.

The senator noted that strategic investments in health research are essential for the country to catch up with our Southeast Asian neighbors who have managed to efficiently handle and suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. The Philippines is currently in its sixth month of quarantine, one of the longest in the world.

In comparison to our neighbors, the country invests only 0.16 percent of our gross domestic product in research and development, far lower than the investment budgets of Singapore (1.94 percent of its GDP), Malaysia (1.44 percent), Thailand (1.0 percent), and Vietnam (0.53 percent), as per Tirso Ronquillo, president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges.

The fact that UP is one of the leaders in research and citations is proof that the country has all the potential to truly develop its public health sector. Yet, the pandemic response has also proven what happens when research is not given the funding it needs.

Only time will tell if we learn our lessons and give Filipino researchers, scientists, and academics the funding they deserve.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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