The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was first published in June 2003 by the Center for World-Class Universities (CWCU), Graduate School of Education (formerly the Institute of Higher Education) of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, and updated on an annual basis. Since 2009 the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has been published and copyrighted by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is a fully independent organization on higher education intelligence and not legally subordinated to any universities or government agencies.
ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Reuters, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance of a university. More than 1200 universities are actually ranked by ARWU every year and the best 500 are published.