The best known ones are by the London Times and The Guardian which publish international ranking tables annually.
None of the Sri Lankan academic institutions are listed in the 2009 list by the Times of the top 200 Asian universities.
Most foreign universities work closely with industry and receive large grants to carryout research work mostly in the science fields.
"Sri Lankan universities are little bit behind on research work and the academic publications. This also has an effect on the university rankings," Kshanika Hirumburegama, vice chancellor at Colombo University, whose Medical College is the second oldest science faculty in Asia after Calcutta.
India has seven universities in the Asian list thanks to the creation of Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) universities, in major cities like Delhi, Bombay and Madras.
IIT is a heavily research-based university