UP Faculty of Physical Culture Among Top 150 Sport Science Schools in the World

Monday 27 February 2017, 08:47 - Text: Martin Višňa

The Faculty of Physical Culture placed within 101st–150th position in the Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments 2016. The ranking is based on performance in science and research, and Physical Culture at Palacký University Olomouc has been evaluated in the same league as the University of Edinburgh, Florida State University or Murdoch University in Australia.

It is the first placement of Palacký University in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), one of the three most prestigious international rankings evaluating universities worldwide.

“The inclusion of the Faculty of Physical Culture in such a prestigious global ranking clearly shows that research at Palacký University meets global parameters not only in the natural and medical sciences, but also in disciplines such as Kinanthropology. The results furthermore indicate that the UP Faculty of Physical Culture is a leader in sport science in the context of the Czech Republic as well Central Europe. I would love to congratulate my colleagues on this outstanding achievement,” said UP Rector Jaroslav Miller.

“This result makes the Faculty of Physical Culture the number one institution in sport sciences in the Czech Republic and also first in Central and Eastern Europe; it is a great achievement and also a confirmation of the fact that it was the right strategy to become oriented to quality scientific output and be involved in international research projects, such as IPEN and HBSC studies,” added František Chmelík, the faculty’s vice-dean for science and research.

Publications, citations, international collaboration

The authors of the Shanghai/ARWU ranking evaluated 361 sport science universities and kinanthropology departments on the basis of five indicators having the same weight in the total score: the number of publications according to the Web of Science, the number of citations per institution, the number of citations per publication, the number of publications in Q1 journals, and the percentage of publications made in international collaboration. Their monitoring covered the period between the years 2011 and 2015.

In the monitored period, the number of publications made at the Faculty of Physical Culture more than tripled according to the Web of Science. In 2011, the faculty had 11 publications in the database, while in 2014 there were 33 and 37 in 2015.

“The conditions for accelerated scientific performance were created a few years ago by the research project led by Prof Karel Frömel at our faculty. Even after its completion, the established trend was further developed. We might say, rather provocatively, that we had stopped persuading ourselves that for a typical publication in kinanthropology, or generally in the social sciences, an anthology in Czech or a book or an article in a Czech peer-reviewed journal would be enough, and instead we started to strive for publications which are typical and prestigious in the international context. The most valuable one most recently would be the article in the journal The Lancet, whose co-author was Docent Josef Mitáš,” said Chmelík.

Opportunities for the future

“The fact that the journal Acta Gymnica, published at our faculty under the supervision of Prof Miroslav Janura, will be retroactively included in the Web of Science database, is both an opportunity for the future and a possibility of further improvement in our publications,” added Chmelík.

The Shanghai Ranking, or the Academic Ranking of World Universities, has been evaluating universities’ performance in science and research since 2003. It is considered to be one of the most respectable university rankings in the world. The ranking of sport science schools and departments was first introduced at the end of 2016.

The position of the UP Faculty of Physical Culture is the first placement of Palacký University in this prestigious ranking. This fact may help the faculty become more visible in the international context, particularly in Asian countries. Another Czech school included in this sport science ranking is the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University in Prague, between 201st–300th place.