The World Higher Education Database (WHED), maintained by the International Association of Universities in collaboration with UNESCO, provides authoritative information on higher education systems and credentials in 196 countries and territories, as well as information on over 20,000 officially accredited or recognized higher education institutions (HEIs). It is the only truly global higher education database, which provides basic information on HEIs, their organization, fields of study and degrees offered.
The Global WHED IDs, the only unique identifiers available for HEIs at the global level, have now been included in ETER. Among 2,688 HEIs listed in ETER for the reference year 2019, 1,977 now include a Global WHED ID – that is almost all universities in ETER representing more than 95% of the undergraduate and PhD students in ETER. The WHED IDs are included under ‘basic descriptors’ in the ETER database alongside other important identifiers such as the Research Organization Register identifiers (ROR) the Erasmus charter codes and the DEQAR identifiers. Matching identifiers is essential to allow users combine different datasets without recurring to manual name matching with all its imprecisions.
To foster interoperability, the RISIS-OrgReg register, which maintains the ETER identifiers, has built a reconciling API extension for matching external data with OrgReg entity names. The service is based on the OpenRefine application. Users can upload their data in the application and connect via API to OrgReg. The matching process can be configured using various parameters and additional fields. The software suggests potential matches which can be selected manually or automatically; then the ETER-OrgReg identifiers can be imported in the data.