The 2021 rankings proceeded in eight stages.

**Stage 1**: Series of preparatory workshops with Directors of Academic Planning of Nigerian universities to prime the system for a re-invigorated ranking and build consensus on the methodology. One of the workshops benefitted from insights from officials of the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings.

**Stage 2**: Consensus building and agreement on the 12 indicators for 2021 rankings.

**Stage 3:** Setting up of an online platform for data entry.

**Stage 4**: Validation of data entered by accredited officials of each university by teams of Directors of Academic Planning and cross validation with records with NUC (the regulator). This is regarded as the most important step in the process and noted to be unique in the history of national and global ranking of institutions. This process hiked the credibility of the process and plugged entries of rogue data. This raised the trust level of the 2021 rankings.

**Stage 5**: Data analysis and internal review of results by the League of Directors of Academic Planning. Feedback from the review led to removal of bugs from the output.

**Stage 6**: Approval of revised results by the League of Directors of Academic Planning.

**Stage 7**: Approval of results by Vice-Chancellors.

**Stage 8**: Launch by Executive Secretary NUC.

**Indicators**

Twelve indicators were agreed by national consensus of the league of Directors of Academic Planning and Vice-Chancellors. These are:

- Student-Teacher Ratio (aligned with 2022 THE ranking)
- Percentage Female (aligned with 2022 THE ranking)
- Percentage of Full Professors
- Percentage of International Staff
- Percentage of International Students (aligned with 2022 THE ranking)
- Percentage of Programmes with FULL accreditation
- Efficiency
- ALL Citations Per Capita (aligned with 2021 AD-Scientific ranking)
- h-index Per Capita (aligned with 2021 AD-Scientific ranking)
- i-10 index Per Capita (aligned with 2021 AD-Scientific ranking)
- Google Scholar Presence
- Contribution to Knowledge Economy (aligned with 2020 Knowledge Economy Index)

**Computations**

**Student-Teacher Ratio**: the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) students in the university divided by the number of full-time teachers in the institution.

**Percentage Female**: This is calculated by dividing the number of female FTE students by the total FTE, expressed as a percentage.

**Percentage of Full Professors**: This is a measure of the quality of staff and is calculated by dividing the total number of full professors in the university by the total number of full-time academic staff, expressed as a percentage.

**Percentage of International Staff**: This is the proportion of the academic staff of the university who are non-Nigerians. It is designed to measure how well the university is able to attract and retain expatriate staff. The indicator is important in a globalising world and within the context of a university being an institution with a universal framework of operations. It is computed by dividing the number of non-Nigerian teaching staff by the total number of academic staff in the university and expressing this as a percentage.

**Percentage of International Students**: This is the proportion of the students in the university who are non-Nigerians. This indicator measures how well the university is able to attract foreign students. As stated for the staff component, the indicator is important in a globalising world and within the context of a university being a universal institution where students from all over the world are free to enrol in the university. It is derived as the percentage of the quotient obtained by dividing the number of non-Nigerian students in the university by the total number of students.

**Percentage of Programmes with FULL accreditation: **This is to measure the overall academic standing of the university. It is computed by dividing the number of academic programmes of the university with full accreditation status by the total number of programmes offered by the university and expressing this as a percentage.

**Efficiency**: This is measured as student completion rate which is a measure of the internal efficiency of the university. Efficiency (student completion rate) for 2020 is calculated by dividing the number of students who graduated in 2020 (for the cohort that enrolled in 2016) by the total number of students in the graduating class of 2020. The quotient is expressed as a percentage.

**All Citations Per Capita**: This is a measure of average scholarly citations for the university as indexed in Google Scholar. It is calculated by summing the total Google Scholar citations for staff of the university who have Google Scholar presence and dividing by the number of such staff.

**All h-index Per Capita**: This is another (complementary) measure of average scholarly citations for the university as indexed in Google Scholar. It is calculated by summing the total h-index citations for staff of the university who have Google Scholar presence and dividing by the number of such staff.

**All i-10-index Per Capita**: This is another (complementary) measure of average scholarly citations for the university as indexed in Google Scholar. It is calculated by summing the total i-10-index citations for staff of the university who have Google Scholar presence and dividing by the number of such staff.

**Google Scholar Presence**: This is the percentage of staff in the university with Google Scholar presence. It is calculated by dividing academic staff who are enrolled in Google Scholar by the total number of academic staff in the university, expressed as a percentage.

**Contribution to Knowledge Economy**: Graduates produced by a university and research output from staff are key elements in the knowledge economy enterprise. This indicator is computed by adding efficiency scores (graduate output) and all three per capita Google scholar scores.

**Total score**: This is summation of percentage of international staff, percentage of international students, all citations per capita, h-index per capita, i-10 index per capita and Google Scholar presence.