China's Tsinghua University broke into the top 15 for the first time and Peking University entered the top 20 for the first time on a list of the world's universities with the best reputation as chosen by thousands of academics.
Harvard University is ranked No 1 on the seventh consecutive year among the academics from 137 countries who took part in the 2017 Times Higher Education world reputations rankings.
The rankings, released on Wednesday, showed Tsinghua University at No 14, up from No 18 last year, and Peking University was No 17, up from No 21. They took the place of the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University this year. Penn is now 19th and Cornell 23.
The rankings are based on the results of a survey sent to scholars and academics between January and March this year, which asks them to list institutions they think are doing the best academic work. This year's survey drew 10,566 responses.
The top 10 universities in the world ranked by reputation are Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, Cambridge, the University of London, California at Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Chicago and the California Institute of Technology.
"The list is, inherently, very stable," said Phil Baty, a THE rankings editor, told the Wall Street Journal. "Any [move] more than two or three places is certainly something of significant."
Zhou Zhong, associate professor in comparative and international education at Tsinghua University, told the Times Higher Education that Tsinghua's rise in rankings can be attributed to scientific and technological breakthroughs that have "drawn wide attention across the world to some of Tsinghua's core strengths in big science''.
Tsinghua and Peking universities are joined in the top 25 by the University of Tokyo (11th) and Kyoto University (25th), the only two other Asian institutions. Tsinghua has 41,537 students, 10 percent of whom are from outside of China, and Peking University has 42,977 students, with 15 percent international students, according to the Times Higher Education.
The UK-based Times Higher Education is a higher education data provider and also a weekly magazine that formerly associated with The Times newspaper, a British daily based in London. It began publishing its annual world rankings since 2004.