Universities eagerly await the Shanghai and Times Higher Ed rankings each year (the Shanghai rankings were released earlier this week), always playing down their accuracy and significance - unless of course they're at the very top of the list - but also citing them to best advantage.
The U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems prepared by the Melbourne Institute of Australia offers a different kind of ranking that "aims to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants."
Norway was ranked 7 in the world in the U21 survey for 2012, then dropped to 11 the following year where it remains in 2014, lagging well behind Nordic neighbors Sweden (2), Finland (4) and Denmark (5). The US tops the list, with Canada in third place. But the ranking would indicate that Norway has much to offer beyond the comparative of its institutions, since only the University of Oslo ranks among the top 200 in the THE and Shanghai rankings (at 185 and 69 respectively.)
The U21 rankings seek to a address "a longstanding need to shift discussion from the existing rankings of the world’s best universities to the standing of the whole higher education system in each country" - and assess the national education systems according to resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities).
(for what it's worth - the 2014 QS World University Rankings have the University of Oslo and the University of Bergen at a respectable 89 and 145 respectively, with the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim and University of Tromsø at 251 and 306)