According to a paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings “are alleged to be more rigorous and sophisticated and certainly more prestigious” than other ranking schemes. However:
The value of the THE rankings, but not their price, is drastically reduced by their lack of transparency so that it is impossible, for example, to tell whether a change in the score for research results from an increase in publications, a decline in the number of staff, an improved reputation or an increase in research income.
The paper describes the THE citations indicator as “bizarre and ridiculous”:
Here are some of the universities that appeared in the top 50 of last year’s citation indicator which supposedly measures research influence or quality: Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Brighton and Sussex medical School, Reykjavik University, Anglia Ruskin University, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.