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The European University Association (EUA), a representative organisation of universities from about 47 European countries, just released a University Autonomy Tool [university-autonomy.eu]. Developed by Raureif and interface designer Christian Behrens, the online visualization analyzes the relationship between universities and the state, in particular by revealing how flexibly universities can take decisions in the context of the rules and regulations that shape their higher education system.

Each (sometimes spiraling) sunburst-like "line" represents a unique indicator, made up by a multitude of squares. The more squares are filled, the more autonomous the higher education system. A high score on an indicator or autonomy dimension indicates that the relevant regulations provide a legal framework without restricting universities in their freedom of action.

See also OECD Better Life Index.


Not sure I like the agenda - most of the measures here seem to praise countries based on how much they allow universities to better their own executives at the expense of students and education.

In about a third of cases, what they call 'autonomy' looks to be simply the opposite of what I'd call 'accountability'... looking to take public money without public oversight. But they're a universities' pressure group, so it's not surprising.

But it's quite a good piece of interaction design.

Since the bars are %s, some clue as to where 100% lies would be good - e.g. a white backdrop that also aids clicking on the shorter lines. In many cases things don't link how you'd expect, and there really should be mouseover labels with the icons on the homepage.

Tue 28 Feb 2012 at 7:01 PM

plus it's a bit sad that they use Flash in a case where HTML5 would be a very simple option.

The detail pages contain little actual detail, like the frequent point "other restrictions" which isn't explained anywhere (it should expand into a free-text list of the specific restrictions)

Thu 01 Mar 2012 at 10:45 PM
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