SHANGHAI - US universities dominated the top 20 in an annual ranking of global educational institutions released by a Chinese organisation Friday, with Harvard remaining in first place ahead of Stanford.
The top 20 in the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities included only four non-American institutions, all from Europe, including Cambridge in fifth place and Oxford in 10th.
The top 10 were virtually unchanged on last year, with only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in third, swapping position with fourth-placed University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton in sixth doing the same with Cal Tech in seventh.
Columbia University in New York came eighth, and the University of Chicago was in ninth place.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich came 19th, remaining the highest-ranked continental European institution.
University College London climbed two places to scrape into the top 20.
The Centre for World Class Universities at Shanghai's Jiaotong University started compiling the annual rankings in 2003, and Harvard has been in first place ever since, it said in a release.
The top-ranked Asia-Pacific institutions were Tokyo University in 21st place and Kyoto in 26th, both of them unchanged on last year.
Peking University was the highest-ranked in mainland China at 119, followed by Shanghai Jiaotong itself at 122.
The Jiaotong body surveys more than 1,200 universities around the world annually and ranks the best 500 based on six indicators, including the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals won by staff and alumni, and the number of articles published in the journals Nature and Science, although that is not applied to institutions that specialise in social sciences.
The list was originally intended to benchmark the performance of Chinese universities, and European officials have criticised the ranking as biased against universities in Europe as it gives a greater emphasis to science than humanities.
The compilers describe their list as the "most trustworthy" in global university rankings, citing transparent methodology and reliable data.