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University of Reading told to stop saying it's in top 1% of universities in world

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The University of Reading has been forced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to remove claims from its advertising that say it is in the top 1% of the world’s universities.

It comes after a complaint was made to the ASA in April which said the university’s claim was misleading and could not be substantiated.

Reading say they based their claim of being in the top 1% of universities worldwide on the fact they had been placed in the top 200 universities in the world out of around 20,000 other institutions. The university is listed in both the top 200 of the Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings.

As league tables don't assess every single university in the world however, it has been suggested that it's in a way false advertising for an institution to claim they are in the top 1% when not every single university has been assessed and ranked.

The ASA have since said they've “informally resolved” the complaint issue directly with the university who have agreed to remove the 1% claim from its website and advertising. The regulating body say that due to this response there will be no investigation needed.

Charles Heymann, the University of Reading's head of corporate communications, has welcomed the ASA’s clarification of how universities should accurately present global rankings. However he said other universities who make similar claims should also be examined by the regulating body:

"The ASA now needs to investigate every single other UK university which claims it is in the top 1 per cent in the world, rather than waiting for individual complaints to be made,” he said, adding:

“It will be odd if the ASA now turns a blind eye to possible breaches of its own Code.

"We have some of the best universities in the world but potentially breaching the advertising code risks damaging the whole sector’s reputation.”

Many other UK universities also make the claim that they're in the top 1% of universities worldwide in their advertising, including the University of Southampton, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Liverpool.




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