Data collection for the most recent report began in June 2006; it was released on September 28, 2010. These rankings did not provide exact ranks for any university or doctoral program; rather, a statistical range was given. This was because "the committee felt strongly that assigning to each program a single number and ranking them accordingly would be misleading, since there are significant uncertainties and variability in any ranking process."
The factors included in these computations included the number of publications per faculty member, citations per publication (except in computer science and the humanities), fraction of the faculty supported by grants and number of grants per faculty member, diversity of the faculty and students, student GRE scores, graduate student funding, number of Ph.D.s and completion percentage, time to degree, academic plans of graduating students, student work space, student health insurance, and student activities.
Sociologist Jonathan R. Cole, one of the members of the NRC committee that produced the ranking, critiqued the final result. Cole objected to the committee's choice not to include any "measures of reputational standing or perceived quality" in the survey, which he called "the most significant misguided decision" in the recent study. Cole also critiqued the various statistical inputs and the weight assigned to each.