Our publications - OECD Higher Education Programme


Exclusively for members of the OECD Higher Education Programme (IMHE)


Annual publication: The State of Higher Education

The OECD has a new, annual publication exclusively for IMHE members. The IMHE report on the state of higher education will provide comparative data, share key policy developments and provide thoughtful analysis of current higher education developments and policy challenges relevant to institutional management. The report is designed to assist members to quickly and easily assimilate what is happening in higher education across countries, stimulate thinking and reflection about policy and practical challenges, and signal emerging trends and potential tensions.


What it means for higher education: quarterly brief

This quarterly series is designed to help you navigate your way through the richness and abundance of OECD data and analysis on topics that have an impact on higher education.

To access the briefs, IMHE members should contact imhe@oecd.org. See below for a list of available briefs by year.


  • What it means for higher education: quarterly briefs 2014 - members should contact imhe@oecd.org.
    • June 2014 - Promoting Research Excellence: Latest OECD Insights; accompanied by a compendium of practical case studies, received from our members, on Fostering research excellence in higher education
    • March 2014 - Results from PISA 2012: Features of future student cohorts; accompanied by two compendia of practical case studies, received from our members, on fostering equity in higher education 
      • Fostering Inclusion of Disadvantaged Students
      • Promoting Female Participation in STEM


  • The State of Higher Education 2013 - more information here...

  • What it means for higher education: quarterly briefs 2013 - members should contact imhe@oecd.org.
    • March 2013 - Long-term economic outlook
    • June 2013 - Closing the gender gap
    • October 2013 - First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)
    • December 2013 - First Results from PISA 2012 (Mathematics Focus)
  • AHELO Feasibility Study Report - Volume 3 - 2013; full report - 108 pages (PDF download)

  • AHELO Feasibility Study Report - Volume 2 - 2013; full report - 194 pages (PDF download); executive summary - 26 pages (PDF download)




  • Governance and Quality Guidelines in Higher Education: A review of governance arrangements and quality assurance guidelines - 117 pages, 2010. The need for good governance has dominated the debate on the effectiveness of higher education. The growing institutional autonomy and expansion of university missions have been accompanied by the emergence of governance arrangements and quality assurance guides, codes and set of principles designed by ministries, funding authorities, quality assurance agencies, rectors’ conferences and associations of institutions. The report discusses the distinction between governance arrangements and quality guidelines, as well as the possible need to define appropriate guidance for institutions. A selection of governance arrangements and quality guidelines are in annex.

French summary version, 2 pages, 2010
Spanish summary version, 2 pages, 2010


  • Learning Our Lesson: Review of Quality Teaching in Higher Education  - 113 pages, 2010, ISBN: 9789264079274
    Based on an OECD review of 46 quality teaching initiatives in 20 countries, the report highlights the significant impact of the institutions’ environment, trends in the quality of academia, teaching methods and learning conditions.

French summary version, 11 pages, 2010
Spanish summary version, 11 pages, 2010
Hungarian translation, 116 pages


  • Effects of Tertiary Expansion - Crowding-out effects and labour market matches for the higher educated - 27 pages, 2007, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 10
    This paper examines crowding-out effects and the labour market match for the tertiary educated in 26 OECD countries, using attainment data and data on labour market outcomes from Education at a Glance 2006. A first-difference approach is applied on a three-period, pooled country-panel to examine the effects of changes in tertiary attainment levels against changes in labour market outcomes over time. The policy questions in this paper focus on the potential negative short-term effects that mismatches between the supply of and demand for higher-educated individuals might bring about.
  • Funding Systems and their Effects on Higher Education Systems - 119 pages, 2007, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 6
    This international study focuses on the funding systems in the area of higher education in the following countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Portugal and Slovak Republic. Each individual country study was designed and conducted within an overall common framework by a project partner from the respective country. By using the stakeholder approach, this study addresses and analyses the effects of funding systems on the higher education system and its institutions.
  • Globalisation and Higher Education - 86 pages, 2007, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 8
    Economic and cultural globalisation has ushered in a new era in higher education. Higher education was always more internationally open than most sectors because of its immersion in knowledge, which never showed much respect for juridical boundaries. In global knowledge economies, higher education institutions are more important than ever as mediums for a wide range of cross-border relationships and continuous global flows of people, information, knowledge, technologies, products and financial capital. Even as they share in the reinvention of the world around them, higher education institutions, and the policies that produce and support them, are also being reinvented. For the first time in history every research university is part of a single world-wide network and the world leaders in the field have an unprecedented global visibility and power. Research is more internationalised than before and the mobility of doctoral students and faculty has increased.
  • Higher Education and Regions: Globally Competitive, Locally Engaged - 240 pages, 2007, ISBN: 9789264034143
    This publication explores a range of helpful policy measures and institutional reforms. Drawing from an extensive review of 14 regions across 12 countries as well as OECD territorial reviews, it considers the regional engagement of higher education regarding teaching, research and service to the community. It offers answers to the following questions: What is higher education’s regional engagement all about? What are its drivers and barriers? What does regional engagement mean for the governance and management of higher education institutions, for regions and for nations? And how does regional engagement fit in with the pursuit of world class academic excellence?
  • Understanding the Regional Contribution of Higher Education Institutions: A Literature Review - 79 pages, 2007, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 9
    The contribution of higher education institutions to regional development is a theme that has attracted growing attention in recent years. Knowledge institutions are increasingly expected not only to conduct education and research, but also to play an active role in the economic, social and cultural development of their regions. The extent to which higher education institutions are able to play this role depends on a number of circumstances: the characteristics of the institutions, the regions in which they are located and the policy frameworks are all significant.


French version
The Spanish version: Educación Superior en América Latina : La Dimensión Internacional (ISBN: 9589764789 SKU: SPA789 - Free online publication)

  • University Research Management: Developing Research in New Institutions - 211 pages, 2005, ISBN 9264006966
    Given the increasing competitiveness and greater geo-political significance of higher education and research, and the under-developed profile of many new Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), this study seeks to examine the processes and strategies being devised by new HEIs to grow research. By focusing on new HEIs, this book provides a unique profile of the experiences of a group of institutions that has hitherto been unidentified and unexplored.


  • University Research Management: Meeting the Institutional Challenge - 257 pages, 2004. ISBN: 9264017437
    Governments are placing unprecedented emphasis on research as a key motor for driving the knowledge society and economy. It is not surprising then that higher education institutions are turning their focus to research, their reputation in the field, their capacity to carry it out and the funding they receive. It is no less surprising that research policies and the management of research are posing severe challenges.This publication sheds light on the issues now facing today’s universities as they confront the increasing pressure to “produce” research to keep the competitive edge.


  • Responding to Student Expectations - 152 pages, 2002. ISBN 9264198245
    Today's university students are drawn from a highly diverse set of backgrounds. Students appear in various guises as citizens, consumers, and clients. They are fitting university study around increasingly busy lives, often alongside paid employment. In many countries students are paying more for their university education, and expect high levels of standards and service. Effective action to meet student expectations therefore poses major management challenges for universities. This volume examines some of the key issues facing universities as they confront these challenges. It offers perspectives and experience drawn from contributors from Australia, Europe and Canada, including the views of student leaders.


  • Managing University Museums - 204 pages, 2001. ISBN 9264194983.
    This publication focuses on the role of university museums, their organisation, management, governance and finance. Most university museum collections have been assembled for the purposes of teaching and research rather than for public display. Whether small, of local importance or large, with great public appeal, they are all defined by their relationship to their university and form a distinctive sector in the museum community. The book has been edited by Melanie Kelly, administrator at the International Center for Higher Education, School of Management, University of Bath.
  • Current Issues in Chinese Higher Education - 148 pages, 2001. ISBN 9264186190.
    As China's "open door" economic policies result in remarkably high and sustained levels of growth, demands on the skills and knowledge of its population have fundamentally changed with inevitable pressure on the education system. This volume provides a distinct flavour of the challenges and opportunities inherent in the very fundamental reforms under way in the higher education sector in China, as seen through the eyes of some of those directly involved.



  • Quality and Internationalisation in Higher Education - 272 pages, 1999. ISBN 9264170499.
    For many universities and other higher education providers, internationalisation is becoming an integral aspect of their teaching, research and public service roles. And institutions are increasingly operating in a global market in which quality assurance and assessment are particularly important and sensitive issues. This book discusses some of the challenges of ensuring quality in internationalisation, and provides a framework to assist institutions in designing and reviewing their own strategies and policies.
  • The Response of Higher Education Institutions to Regional Needs - 152 pages, 1999. ISBN 9264171436
    The agenda of universities has moved on from a desire to simply increase the general education level of the population and the output of scientific research; there is now a greater concern to harness university education and research to specific economic and social objectives. Nowhere is this demand for specificity more clear than in the field of regional development. What contribution do universities make to the development of the regions they are located in? They certainly have passive impacts in terms of direct and indirect employment; yet, how can the resources of universities be mobilised to actively contribute to the development process?