Due to the GDPR laws in the UK, the ICO’s interpretation of them. At QS after a lot of discussion, we have decided to be pro-active and make sure we are adhering closely to opt-in procedures seen in other industries. This unfortunately means that we need to be sure universities are asking for nominee’s consent before they pass their details over to us, which I realise is problematic for everybody, but sadly can’t be avoided. The need to obtain consent applies to citizens and universities in the EU only.
Regarding Survey sign-up, if you would rather use our survey sign-up facility where individuals who consent can give us their details themselves, then you must use the relevant “Consent email for Sign Up” template email found at http://www.iu.qs.com/supporting-documents/ in order to do this. This email template should be sent on its own and not accompany other communication from the university; we ask that the template is used to ensure transparency and neutrality in how universities approach contacts for our reputational surveys.
Timescales - If a university misses the data collection deadline for submitting their lists, or sends out links to the sign-up facility too late, QS cannot guarantee that their nominees will receive the survey in time to be able to reply before the cut-off date for the analysis for that year’s cycle. Survey responses received after the date that the data is pulled for analysis will not be lost but will not inform that year’s rankings cycle and will be counted in the following year’s analysis. Dates for the 2021 University Rankings cycle are 1st February 2020 to receive lists and data will be pulled from the surveys for analysis early-mid March 2020.
Sanctions - A university found to be in breach of QS’ guidelines by seeming to coach responses for the institution from nominees (for example by deviating from the prescribed templates without seeking guidance and permission from QS) or engaging in another unethical practice may be subject to sanctions. These could range from exclusion from the rankings for a cycle, the removal of that year’s “votes” or other measures which QS and the QS advisory board deem suitable. We have had to implement the use of prescribed email communication templates to ensure compliance with data protection legislation and to ensure transparency and neutrality in how universities approach contacts for our reputational surveys.