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On Think Tanks was founded in mid 2010. It has evolved from a blog into a global platform dedicated to study and support policy research and policy research centres, or think tanks. The members of the On Think Tanks Team and its Advisory Board are spread out across 6 continents!

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Think tank awards, rankings and ratings

Over the years On Think Tanks as explored, supported and criticised initiatives to recognise the work of think tanks. We produced and support the Premio PODER to think tanks in Peru, which is based on the Prospect Magazine think tank awards in the UK. We have supported and promoted Transparify, which rates the level of transparency of think tanks. And we have criticised efforts to rank think tanks.   This series offers a collection of articles on the subject.
  1. 1

    Have you ever thought about rankings as a social phenomenon, instead of just criticising them?

    There are a lot of rankings out there – universities, think tanks, countries, you name it. There’s also a lot of criticism of rankings, like this recent Twitter thread by OTT Director Enrique Mendizabal pointing out the flaws in think tank ranking. Enrique’s critique is what we would call... Read full article
  2. 2

    The Prospect Magazine Think Tank Awards have gone global

    For the past few years the UK magazine Prospect has organised awards to think tanks, initially focusing on UK think tanks, and more recently adding EU and North American think tanks to the competition. This year they added a 'global' category, opening the competition to think tanks from the... Read full article
  3. 3

    New Global Ranking of Think Tanks: is the Chinese version better?

    Ranking things is a universal sport. Think tanks had never quite been the subject of attempts to assess, measure or rank their work. The problem is that when one attempts to rank think tanks (even only measure their influence -which is an obsession of those in the sector) one will inevitably... Read full article
  4. 4

    How does a think tank policy come about? Lessons from China

    In China think tanks are experiencing something of a Golden Age (at least if we consider the number of think tanks founded in the last few years and the support from the Party and the Government for their development). Unlike most other parts of the world, China has a think tank... Read full article
  5. 5

    Lessons from the Peruvian think tank awards

    This post offers some insights into the think tank community in Peru as seen by the judging panel of PODER'sThink Tank of the Year Awards. Winners of the Premio PODER will be announced at the end of October. Read full article
  6. 6

    The Prospect 2015 Think Tank Awards: the winners and some reflections

    And the winner is... the think tank community in Britain; and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Prospect Magazine awarded its famous prize last week. Find out who won and why. Read full article
  7. 7

    A national ranking of influence: Chinese and American models

    Two think tank rankings have been published recently: one for Chinese think tanks and one for US think tanks. Both have been developed by think tanks themselves and both have attempted to be as context specific and objective as possible. While they use different methods they offer an excellent opportunity for comparative research on think tanks. Read full article
  8. 8

    You may be proud of being ranked as a top think tank, but what about your staff?

    Evaluations and Rankings can hide the reality of many organisations. It is perfectly possible to be influential and popular while everyone working at the think tank is unhappy and even miserable. An organisation that can be seen, from the outside, to be the envy of all others could be gone from one day to the other if its governance and management is not up to scratch. Here is an example from Sweden. Read full article
  9. 9

    Observations from a gathering of African Think Tanks: Of visas, rankings and existential threats

    Peter da Costa reflects on a meeting of African Think Tanks where concerns about global rankings and threats to think tanks were discussed. He argues that think tanks in the region need to come together to learn from each other -but this needs to be an African initiative if it is ever to be successful. Read full article
  10. 10

    This year, instead of ranking think tanks lets think about them more carefully

    David Roodman and Julia Clark from the Center for Global Development have posted a very interesting reflection on the now unfortunately famous McGann think tank ranking. In Envelope, Please: Seeking a New Way to Rank Think Tanks, they offer an alternative to a global ranking exercise. By... Read full article
  11. 11

    Premio PODER to the Peruvian Think Tank of the Year 2013: some lessons

    The first ever Peruvian think tank award has been celebrated in Lima. A large crowd of thinktankers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, politicians, academics, and journalists showed up at the Westin Hotel to celebrate and reward the good work of Peruvian think tanks. Rather than an announcement... Read full article
  12. 12

    Premio PODER for think tanks in Peru: the judges have a say

    The Premio PODER to the think tank of the year in Peru has received applications and will be announcing a series of winners on 23rd October 2013 at a ceremony in Lima. We asked some of the judges to share their views on research, the roles of think tanks and the importance of the... Read full article
  13. 13

    How did leading US Think Tanks fare in 2012? Analysis by numbers

    How do think tanks develop over time? One good answer to this question are their financial statements. Annual expenditure tells us how much a think tank has grown, revenues highlight how much support it attracted, while net assets give a glimpse of financial health. To be sure, financials are... Read full article
  14. 14

    Foreign policy think tanks in developing countries

    During the last couple of months we have been compiling a list of think tanks dedicated to foreign policy in developing nations. The idea behind this project was to get a better sense of the kind of topics that command the attention of researchers and policy makers when it comes to these... Read full article
  15. 15

    Prospect Magazine Think Tank Awards 2011

    Tonight was the Prospect Magazine Think Tank of the Year Awards 2011. Bronwen Maddox, Editor of Prospect presided and Vince Cable, MP, handed out the awards. The full list of winners and runner-ups has been published by Prospect but here are some of my impressions of the event. First, I... Read full article
  16. 16

    The ‘Top Think Tanks’ in the World commentary from AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

    An interesting review of James McGann's think tank's list  from Africa is a Country: The ‘Top Think Tanks’ in the World The report also notes “… the rise of think tanks in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.” Whether these think tanks offer fresh ideas or anything... Read full article
  17. 17

    Goran’s recommendations on think tank rankings

    Goran Buldioski offers another take on the rankings in his blog Goran's musings and some very interesting recommendations that I republish below: As someone who works with think tanks, studies think tanks, writes about think tanks, I see very little value in it. Therefore, it is high time to... Read full article
  18. 18

    Another year, another ranking of think tanks (and surprise surprise, Brookings is still the best)

    I'll accept that James McGann's effort to identify and rank all the think tanks in the world has some positive outcomes. First of all, it has people talking about think tanks -and some think tanks are even becoming aware that there is a debate out there about themselves. Second... no, that is... Read full article
  19. 19

    On rankings

    This month, Prospect Magazine announced the winners of the its Think Tank of the Year Award. The Institute for Government won the top spot, with the Policy Exchange claiming the prize for the best think tank publication of the year (“Making Housing Affordable,” by Alex Morton);... Read full article