Pakistani Universities and Their Web Presence

Posted on October 27, 2007
Filed Under >Junaid Siddiqui, Education, Science and Technology
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Junaid Siddiqui

Last year at ATP, there was a post on the HEC (Higher Education Commission)’s Ranking of Pakistani Universities. That single post generated so much interest that in the past one year it has got 30000 hits on it. It not only shows the immense interest among prospective university students but also shows lack of career counseling or guidance available to them.

I have written this article in a hope of building further on HEC’s rankings as well as to show that Pakistani universities have very far to go to make up to any internationally recognized University Ranking.

Spanish National Research Council biannually publishes Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. The raking is based on data obtained from popular search engines. Universities for this purpose are identified based on their institutional web domains. The methodology of ranking is based on the following quantitative indicators:

Size (S). Number of pages from a university’s domain recovered from search engines.
Visibility (V). The total number of unique external links received (inlinks) by a university’s site.
Rich Files (R). Number of rich files available on a university’s domain recovered from search engines. The file types considered include Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc) and Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt). This is considered as it is relevant to academic and publication activities of a university.
Scholar (Sc). Number of papers and citations for a university’s domain available on Google Scholar.

Following formula is used to rank universities:
Webometrics Rank (position)= 4*RankV+2*RankS+1*RankR+1*RankSc

The ranking criteria is quantitative is nature for which data can be easily obtained through some simple search engine queries. What is, however, interesting to note about the ranking results (last published in July 2007) is that they compare rather well with other world rankings of universities such as the Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking or The Times World University Rankings.


SESRTCIC, a research center of OIC, has recently released a preliminary Academic Ranking of Universities in the OIC Countries, which is based on the research output data of the universities of OIC member states. Most of the top ranking Middle Eastern universities in the composite index of OIC ranking are also among the top Middle Eastern universities in the Webometrics ranking. The Webometrics ranking, therefore, seems to be a good indicator of global standing of a university.

Given that Webometrics ranking is based on quantitative parameters we can expect that a populous country like Pakistan should have at least few of its universities, let us say, in the top 2000. However when we look at the Webometrics ranking of Pakistani universities, it is disappointing to see that there are no universities in even top 3000 and there are only two universities in top 4000 rankings. They are Lahore University of Management Sciences (rank 3071), Aga Khan University, Karachi (rank 3422) and the Punjab University, Lahore (rank 4685).

Universities form the centers of intellectual and scholarly activities in any country and the Webometrics ranking of our universities is an indicator of the dismal situation we have in our country. Interestingly the two universities in top 4000 (LUMS and AKU) are the same universities that Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy identified as the two Pakistani universities closest to the universities located in free societies across the world.

Independent thought is the foundation that allows intellectual activities to flourish which seems to be missing from the fabric of most of our higher education institutions. The recent article on BBCUrdu.com about the kind of thoughts promoted at our long established Karachi University is one example of what is happening at our universities.

Whether it be the education in the disciplines of natural sciences or social sciences the situation is the same. When we go into the classrooms what we find is an environment that restricts the thinking of our students than opening it up. This is yet another aspect of our society which needs immediate and radical measures.

About the Author: Junaid Siddiqui is a Civil Engineering graduate of NED University Karachi and now a lecturer at King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals.

43 Comments on “Pakistani Universities and Their Web Presence”

  1. dawa-i-dil says:
    October 27th, 2007 7:42 am

    how much of GDP we spend on our education….

    how much of the intelligent people willing to serve thier country instead of running from Pakistan !!!

    how much of doctors ..willing to serve in rural basic health centres instead of UK and USA …!!!

    but i am not depressed….

  2. October 27th, 2007 7:50 am

    Junaid Bhai,

    Interesting post and I applaud ti for highlighting another weakness in our current Pakistan. From my knowledge some of these universities are producing top talent and they deserve to have at least a website of some stature that can project them to fellow Pakistanis and the world at large.

    I hope that an ‘other’ Pakistan can come into being where we can project our good news from the rooftops as it were, ALLAH knows how we are always putting out bad news to the world. Please see Other Pakistan’s website and see how you can help build a better and more just Pakistan via link here http://www.otherpakistan.org/archive.html

    Feimanallah

    Wasim

  3. Mahmood says:
    October 27th, 2007 8:32 am

    Very interesting article.

    I think Pakistani universities can catch up quite quickly on publications if they learn how to carry out research. In the OIC rankings you posted, Turkey seems to be far ahead in publications among OIC countries. In my field, I have came across lot of research papers with Turkish writers. I think a big portions of that reseach answer very simple questions. Even basic surveys can be a good way to produce not only acceptable research but also allow to scientifically identify local problem. A lot of research produced in the world address local experiences.

    In this age of advanced communication, I think distance education can also play a positive role where Pakistanis now working abroad can somehow give intellectual contribution to their society. May be by becoming a commitee member of research project. Its a fact that there is politics even at faculty level in Pakistan and some of the very competent lot of Pakistanis are just too skeptical of the political aspect of universities. They don’t want to get consumed in petty issues of department politics which is a fact in most Pakistani universities.

    But again on the topic of publications, there is a lot of room for basic research in Pakistan for local problems. The task could be simpler by reproducing the case study results for Pakistani conditions. I think lot of people who have worked in the research knows that even in thousands of papers produced every year, only few qualify for ground breaking reseach.

  4. pa(kiss)tani says:
    October 27th, 2007 1:45 pm

    when muslim emperor was spending money to build TAJ MAHAL, ppl in the west collecting money to build universities Harvard university vs Taj Mahal, now india may be earning money by attaracting tourists from across the world but Taj Mahal (in my opinion) was a utter waste of national wealth.

    About Harvard,(from Wiki)
    Initially referred to simply as “the new college”, the institution was named Harvard College on March 13, 1639, after its first principal donor, a young clergyman named John Harvard. A graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in England, John Harvard bequeathed about four hundred books in his will to form the basis of the college library collection, along with half his personal wealth worth several hundred pounds.

    Taj Mahal:
    In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during Mughal’s period of greatest prosperity, was griefstricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their fourteenth child, Gauhara Begum.The construction of Taj Mahal begun soon after Mumtaz’s death with the principal mausoleum completed in 1648.

    1630-40 a couple of decades that made a big difference. In the East a king was spending lavishly to build TAJ MAHAL and in the West one rich man was donating money to build a UNIVERSITY.

    when I hear of lavish lifestyle of Middle Eastern kings or in general rulers of the muslim countries I only think that we are still living in 1630′s.

  5. October 27th, 2007 2:04 pm

    cannot agree more to what mahmood said,
    suna tha tareekh apne aap ko duhraati hai, leikin aaesa lag raha hai ab srif side B hi repeat pe lagi hoi hia. :)

  6. October 27th, 2007 2:32 pm

    I think most of us are aware of our national educational standing, we know there is a problem, but we should now think about the possible solutions , and do whatever we can as an individual and as nation.
    those driving the system are also among us, and some of us will be on driving seat in future.
    I suggest the oldie goldie solution to start the process right from ourselves.

  7. I-slam-bad says:
    October 27th, 2007 2:33 pm

    if i say that we should reduce our military spending for the sake of education, many of us will try to kill me.
    Just read the ranking of universities in indian sub continent. also read the article by dr. hoodbhoy.
    Let us not beat the chest and say that we are better than india. All our foolish leaders have wasted money in buying outdated warplanes and tanks from china just because india is buying outdated planes from russia. the truth will always remain that we can never match india in absolute number in terms of weapons (which will matter in case of war). but just for this foolish matching …. we have left our education behind …
    let us not fool ourselves anymore. truth wont change. we are, as a society, lagging behind india in education. let us cut the defence spends … and put that into education. even if we put 100% of our budget into military, we cannot match india’s military budget. then why spend so much on military?
    as pa-kiss-tani said – when west was building universities, we were building monuments. similarly, we are buying planes, when india is educating itself.
    these are my opinions. would love to hear a nice counter argument.

  8. shab says:
    October 27th, 2007 2:41 pm

    we need a strong private sector investment in education. and for that, we need huge private industries in pakistan. in US and Europe, many private companies fund colleges, because they can absorb the talent coming out of those colleges. We do not have many examples.
    i fully disagree with i-slam-bad. the sovereignity of country depends upon its military. we should not divert military spendings into education. we should raise private funds for education.
    Here, we can collaborate with indian universities – IITs and IIMs and ask them to set up branches in Pakistan.
    That would be the best CBM for both countries.

  9. mansoor says:
    October 27th, 2007 2:45 pm

    Are the IITs and IIMs really better than any College in Pakistan? I dont think so. any inputs?

  10. Usman says:
    October 27th, 2007 5:09 pm

    I totally agree with pa(kiss)tani at his comparison between Harvard and the Taj Mahal (a total waste of time/countless amount of wealth) .

    But still I dont need to go that far in the history, Pakistan’s ruling elite is here to show us that Taj Mahal history is still being followed in the present day, with no damn to building something of a new educational place (university??? hmmmmm , I’m not talking about…… this country is still in dire need of primary schools in its rural areas)

  11. October 27th, 2007 5:32 pm

    Reducing military budget will not ensure education budget will be spend as planned. The system needs to be improved. Its not the amount that matter, its the way that amount is spent , matters. We are a 3rd world country, but our budget doesn’t reflect that, the lavishness of the elite and ruling class burdens the budget and public bears that expense. Military budget should not be reduced when it is spent to improve the military strength, it should be reduced when it is spend for mere display of lavishness.

    Furthermore, due to our corrupt system, I don’t think the allocated educational budget has been wisely used. So just allocating more and more for education will only benefit the culprits of the system, by increasing their pocket money.
    :)

  12. Viqar Minai says:
    October 27th, 2007 7:55 pm

    I agree. The budget is being mis-spent in a lot of categories. All that money should be taken away and allocated to the military budget instead so our brave soldier can kill more of us.

  13. Owais Mughal says:
    October 27th, 2007 11:50 pm

    Junaid, You have pointed us to a valid failure of our universities. It is very interesting how Webometrics rank universities on a formula based on their web foot mark.

    As far as Webometrics is concerned, one obvious way to increase Pakistani universities ranking could be to digitize their paper research work and make it available online.

    I know for Pak Engineering Universities atleast that each and every student has to work on a final project. for many students, it takes almost 18-24 months to finish this project. On many ( but not all) genuine research is performed by the students but their work all ends up in a paper form in a project library and gets ‘imprisoned’ there forever. All these final projects should be required to be available online also (atleast the abstracts/summaries). Just this step will increas Pak universities digital foot print on the web.

  14. Junaid Siddiqui says:
    October 28th, 2007 12:06 am

    Looking at the university web presence data it made me reflect that what it is that makes a good university to produce more on the web. One factor that I believe makes the real difference is the sheer amount of

  15. Junaid Siddiqui says:
    October 28th, 2007 12:53 am

    Owais I agree that several simple steps can be taken to improve web presence of our universities. Realizing the value of open access to thoughts and idea and the free flow of ideas is yet another factor that makes a difference. Just look at the impact a single Blog like ATP has made. ATP has a web presence comparable to LUMS.

    Pages in Yahoo at the moment

    LUMS: 10, 800
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Flums.edu.pk&bwm=p&bwms=p&fr2=seo-rd-se

    ATP: 11,300
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Fpakistaniat.com&bwm=p&bwms=p&fr2=seo-rd-se

    External Inlinks at the moment

    LUMS: 2850
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fpakistaniat.com&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=s

    ATP: 15,800
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fpakistaniat.com&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=s

    Add some blogs to the culture of any university and it can have great impact in every sense.

  16. Eidee Man says:
    October 28th, 2007 12:57 am

    Very good article; I’m always very interested in articles about higher education in Pakistan. And certainly, with the likes of Adil Najam, etc we have writers of authority.

    Anyway, it’s hard to admit, but India is doing much better in higher education than Pakistan. Think about it, if Pakistan just had two PITs based on the model of IITs in India (which are in turn based on MIT, arguably the most elite technical school in the world). These schools have completely different organizational structures, with almost not interference from government, and they have nation-wide admissions exams.

    The Aga Khan Medical College produces batch upon batch of extremely talented physicians who land residencies in the most elite residency programs in the world including at Mass General, Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, etc. There is no reason why we cannot have a technical school of similar caliber….who knows, maybe the LUMS SSE project will do that for Pakistan….I sure hope so, hopefully I can get a faculty position there when I graduate :-).

  17. Junaid Siddiqui says:
    October 28th, 2007 12:59 am

    Owais I agree that several simple steps can be taken to improve web presence of our universities. Realizing the value of open access to thoughts and idea and the free flow of ideas is yet another factor that makes a difference. Just look at the impact a single Blog like ATP has made. ATP has a web presence comparable to LUMS.

    Pages in Yahoo at the moment

    LUMS: 10, 800
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Flums.edu.pk&bwm=p&bwms=p&fr2=seo-rd-se

    ATP: 11,300
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Fpakistaniat.com&bwm=p&bwms=p&fr2=seo-rd-se

    External Inlinks at the moment

    LUMS: 2850
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Flums.edu.pk&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=s

    ATP: 15,800
    http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/advsearch?p=http%3A%2F%2Fpakistaniat.com&bwm=i&bwmo=d&bwmf=s

    Add some blogs to the culture of any university and it can have great impact in every sense.

  18. Mahmood says:
    October 28th, 2007 1:52 am

    I would disagree that cutting the military budget is the major part of the solution for our higher education problem. Infact a good part of the research produced in Pakistan is apparently in the military sector by Atomic Energy Commision and KRL etc.

    I agree with Junaid bhai that the primary step is increasing the activity level at the university as Junaid Bhai said, and for that there are no shortcuts. Our universities must be attractive enough that atleast masters student stay in Pakistan if not pHd, because its the graduate students who produces mass research anywhere in the world. Second is a short term approach which is to make the universities aware of such norms in the world. I visited NED after about 4 years when I was in Pakistan few weeks ago and I must say that the graph of infrasturture is definitely uphill. May not be as steep as we would like but not at all a hopeless situation. Infact the library has improved a lot and there is a third floor coming up. As Owais bhai said, among other improvements, only if universities start digitizing the final year projects and presenting it in a structured format on its website will not only increase the web foot print of Pakistani universities but also gives a good idea of activity level in university for self evaluation. Infact universities even do not need to digitize the projects, they simply need to link the soft copy of the submitted project to a structured website of university library. Another way is to give student a university webspace. Even 50 mb will do wher students can publish their term assignments. Its good to share stuff anyway.

    BTW, Taj mahal shouldn’t be taken negatively. I am sure I can publish couple of papers on Taj Mahals socio economic impacts and environmental performance ;)

  19. Aqil Sajjad says:
    October 28th, 2007 5:35 am

    Web presence of universities is a subject on which I have been wanting about doing an ATP post but have not been able to get to it. Thanks to Junaid for bringing it up.

    When I was doing my undergrad at a univ in Islamabad, one major problem we had was that the university management was not very serious in ensuring quality. Some of the instructors would not even bother to sit down at the beginning of the semester to plan the course and the management did not feel troubled by it. There were times when I knew that an instructor was not doing a good job, but I could not refer the administration to a syllabus and point out what was being left out because none was available. If universities are required to have a website for every course containing the syllabus, it can also help in improving the quality of teaching, because then the students have a document they can refer to and then they will know what a course is supposed to be about. This will influence their evaluations of the teachers at the end of the semester and put more pressure on the administration to keep an eye on quality.

    Another important one is the suggestion by Owais that the final year projects should be digitized. That way, people can go on-line and look at some projects to get an idea about the quality of a university on their own rather than just relying on HEC rankings or widely held perceptions, which may not always be fair. A university whose graduates struggle to put together a grammatically correct paragraph will clearly stand exposed this way. A final year project should be a requirement for every 4-year bachelers degree or an equivalent masters one in every field, whether its physics, engineering, urdu literature or Islamiat. This alone can go a long way in bringing some transparency and improving the quality of teaching.

    I also feel that all universities should be required by HEC to maintain webpages for all their faculty members and these should contain their resumes, list of research publications (with URLs to them if available), course being taught (with links to the course websites as mentioned earlier) and other info like whether they are in a position to take on additional students for PhD or undergrad research. This will really help perspective students, especially those looking for a PhD supervisor.

    I feel that in the emphasis on the bigger goal of improving the faculty by providing scholarships and other incentives, this relatively smaller issue of using the internet to bring transparency is being ignored at a huge cost. We can not get all universities to have world class faculty in such a short period of time (even India has only 15-20 or so good ones and the rest are fairly ordinary), but at least such measures for transparency can bring some pressure on the really bad ones to get some basics in order.

    PS: Someone said that digitizing of the project reports is not necessary and scanned images can be posted. I disagree. These days, all projects are typed up on the computer anyway so might as well post the digitized version. It may not be important for most of you, but a blind person can read the digitized version independently through a screen reader software (subject to some issues about the format) but images are not accessible. We need to make our education system inclusive to everyone and that should include people with disabilities.

  20. Reluctant Expatriate says:
    October 28th, 2007 11:31 am

    I wonder what the Pakistani Universities ranking will be if the criteria includes accomplishments of its graduates, including research publications, who now have faculty positions at other universities in the West and the Middle East.

    I also hope that alumni of the Pakistani Universities, most of whom got almost free education at these universities can share some of their experience and wealth to support the institutions. My experience is that most of alumni of Pakistani universities do not want to donate a single penny to their alma mater. IIT alumni recently held a fund raiser in Washington DC for their alma mater and raised more than a million dollrars. I have been trying a similar effort for UET and have so far received less than ten thousand dollars over a nine month period. The alumni do not even want to become members even at no cost. They want to know what is in it for them.

  21. October 28th, 2007 1:31 pm

    Few months back I made comments about wastage of research resources at LEG at KMB . One can read here.

    Clickety


    Since we are talking about KU. Does anyone have any idea about the wastage of money in recently developed Latif Ebrahim Jamal Institute for Science and IT? The section has free Internet and students have been provided facility to attend lectures from different universities around the world but instead of attending lectures which cost $200/lecture, students are rather busy in using Internet for usual stuff, emailing etc. Noone or very few attend lectures and regardless of someone attend or not, Govt is bound to pay lecture fee to concerned universities. What a Shame!

  22. Mahmood says:
    October 29th, 2007 12:35 am

    Very interesting comparision of web activity on LUMS and ATP website. It highlights the fact of “community” involvement. A blog or a discussion forum may also help in sharing and expression of thoughts by students, a basic ingredient of modern education that is missing from our education system.

  23. Sada says:
    October 31st, 2007 2:05 am

    Thanks for an interesting article but I think what you have mentioned about a recent note on BBCUrdy.com about Karachi university’s journal is another example of intolerance and prejudice. I don

  24. SAJID ALI KHAN says:
    November 2nd, 2007 3:32 pm

    I read out your artical, this gave me lot of information, and I have some more painful facts, In Pakistan, one teacher is avaliable per 38 students. while Iran had 1 teacher per 10 students. USA has 14 students per teacher. So we need to get focus on it. we need tu built more school and trained teachers to get respectabale ranking position in the world. May Allah we have such genius and sincears Educationist Pakistanis who willingly and agressivly change the education system of your beloved country.

  25. mansoor says:
    November 2nd, 2007 10:43 pm

    “May Allah we have such genius and sincears Educationist Pakistanis who willingly and agressivly change the education system of your beloved country”

    Why blame our current situation on Allah? We have this ridiculous habit of saying Inshallah every now and then. We are insulting Allah when we say – may allah give give genius Educationists to Pakistan. Allah has already given us many brilliant men and women out there. It is our education system that we are not able to nurture them and make them torch bearers.

  26. sirasasd1 says:
    January 30th, 2008 11:49 pm

    University Of South Asia is the best
    Engineering University Of Pakistan

  27. Shakeel Ur Rehman says:
    March 24th, 2008 5:17 am

    Quaid-i-Azam University of Pakistan is the best universities. Its graduates are recognized across the world. They are working in every sector of the field.

  28. Fakhar says:
    March 26th, 2008 2:49 am

    the best way to progress and to build Pakistan stronger and greater is enhancement of education quality and quantity.

  29. khurram says:
    April 20th, 2008 5:22 am

    pak aims u have to make standard

  30. ENGR. MUHAMMAD SALEEM MEMON says:
    May 22nd, 2008 5:27 am

    it is amazing no one is concerened , who is responsible ? ultimately Government of Pakistan. Really is there any governce? general public does not see any proof !!

  31. Noor Ahmed says:
    July 28th, 2008 8:00 am

    Shah Abdul Latif University is best in providing the Business Studies

  32. yousuf says:
    August 4th, 2008 2:30 pm

    welll our university ranking is very low as compared to world university becouse they lacking reasearches and quality of education and at this era where it is necessary to those things.
    our government should promote education standard our hec is doing not enough job which they should be.
    if we continually lack behind with allaround the university in the world we will suffer further and bright students will Go to STudy abroad.

  33. HUMAYUN says:
    October 5th, 2008 12:35 pm

    Assalamualaikum
    I BELEIVE THAT HEC MUST HAVE RANKED UET TAXILA AT NO. 1 RATHER THAN NO.6
    LIVE LONG UET TAXILA
    LIVE LONG MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT OF TAXILA

  34. Tahir says:
    October 8th, 2008 8:01 am

    show me the links of the best universities of pakistan

  35. Zermeena Khan says:
    January 25th, 2009 10:14 am

    NED University of Engineering and technology is the one every one forgot to mention. NED has been trying its level best to promote engineering education. It is giving out scholarships, not only to the deserving and meritorious students but also to the ones who are needy. By doing so, they are buildind up the confidence of those people who are ready to give up. It has given the students the environment to learn. I am a student of this university, I feel like studying and being the best whenever I am in it’s boundaries and outside it’s boundaries. I think to provide the environment is the most important aspect of them all

  36. kashif says:
    May 14th, 2009 12:36 am

    Aoa
    nfc is the upcoming n growing institute n hec should consider it,s ranking b/c hec has reconized it,s all departments

  37. asad zaidi says:
    August 1st, 2009 11:13 am

    why Karachi students has no seats in the universities of Lahore but Punjab students easily take admission in Karachi uni thats not fair we protest now all Karachi universities will on top

  38. August 1st, 2009 3:35 pm

    university of gujrat ia a newly established university in dist gujrat is awell known university .in a short interval of time the uog get progress i can,t imagine.this wil become the world clas and the centre of excellence inshallah .electrical engineering department is a prominent department .

  39. SHEIKH ROSHAAN says:
    September 15th, 2009 5:25 am

    SALAM 2 ALL
    i think that virtual university of pakistan is also a good upcomming university,not because of latest method of study but also because of latest thing like lectures on t.v.channels,totally concerned wid internet n computer,n on a very low fee structure,
    god bless them who made eaiser to study for those students who can’t afford,or who can’t attend classes because of many common reasons.

  40. October 27th, 2009 2:43 pm

    hi 2 all>>>>…..
    me sohail aijaz from ssuet karachi. The ever best university nowadays excluding N.E.D is SIR SYED UNIVERSITY OF ENGG: & TECHNOLOGY KARACHI.
    wish you best of luck.
    try your best

  41. abdul says:
    November 9th, 2009 1:11 am

    I wish to know the ranking position of Prestion University in Pakistan/Karachi Campus but no one here to guide me, is there any one who can guide me the value of Degree of Prestion University and oblige

  42. ABDUR REHMAN says:
    February 25th, 2010 9:22 am

    I am student of Mechanical Departement of NWFP UET Peshawar. I think NWFP UET is one of the best Universty of Pakistan, so it should be included in the top five ranking of Engineering Universities.

  43. pervaz ahmed says:
    October 1st, 2010 4:34 am

    sindh university of jamshoro is the one of the biggest university of pakistan so it must be in ranking.

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