When it comes to choosing a research university, you should probably, well, do your research.

Choose a college wisely. Consider factors such as cost, programs offered, admissions, graduation rates, notable alumni, student life, and location. There are over 5,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. alone, and lots of college rankings.

But you have to start somewhere.

This ranking, which covers universities and colleges around the world for the 2018-19 academic year, is based on the "footprint" of key researchers and scholars on the web and focuses on the combined influence of a school's faculty across fields of study, according to the list's author, TheBestSchools.org.

TheBestSchools, which comprises educators, editors, authors, and web professionals, says that many college rankings are being "gamed," based on the fact that once the criteria for calculating a school's position in a ranking are laid out, it becomes possible for schools to adapt to those criteria and rise in the rankings, even if doing so does nothing to improve the quality of research and instruction at the school.

The methodology for this list involved selecting a representative sample of disciplines at universities and finding the influencers in each discipline, and then pooling these influencers to see where they are on faculty and where they got their degrees.

Here are the top 30 universities in the world today.

(TheBestSchools.org is part of highereducation.com, a Houston-based online recruiting and content marketing site.)