Is Okayama University Mediocre?
I was told by several foreign students that Okayama University is low-rank with mediocre publication, while many other universities in Japan have better publication. Some are even referring to a certain ranking system, which I didn't ask what kind of criteria was used to rank. Interestingly, they were student of Okayama University, not an outsider. Really, I could simply pretend nothing happened because I doubt any of them has a real competence to spit such judgement out.
But let's get straight with the title. At an instant sight the answer may be yes, but the fact is it doesn't even half true.
There are seven imperial Universities in Japan and they have long history which of course have made glorious reputation. Unfortunately Okayama is not one among them. According to an associate professor, based on research fund received by University in Japan, Okayama University stand in 13th position, which means other than imperial universities Okayama university is inferior only to five universities.
That's the general thing. What I want to emphasize is that since Okayama University is a research university then judgement should be based on the research. When we are talking about research, then you have to look at the laboratory, not the university in overall, as University has a strong point in certain field. Shortly, judge by looking their individual laboratory.
Let me get one small example: my current laboratory. When I wrote this, the boss is 52 years young, and the associate is 40 years young. Both of them are used to publish their work in Nature, a journal whose impact factor is 27, the rest of publication can be found in ACS publication whose impact factor can't be underestimated too. Then what kind of publication else can you expect?
In case of paper test, this is quite amusing. As you may already know, University is far from being a magic box which transform idiot student to be a genius one. University with long history and reputation of course naturally invites many students to apply and they can freely select the best of the best among them and discard the others to less famous university. If you, ryuugakusei, are looking for a fame, then there is no point to choose Okayama University because it is meaningless to boast "I'm an alumnus of Okayama University" in front of alumnus of imperial university no matter how good your publication is.
When I heard from those who regret that they are studying in a University which they think mediocre, I was wondering, "You guys can use internet and get information of a laboratory and its publication, yet why did you choose a university or a laboratory which you think mediocre from its publication? And what is the point of complaining what you have chosen? Second, you are a free man, why don't you just quit and move to 'elite' university?"