Latest on U.S. News Scholarly Impact Rankings from Robert Morse

US News Law School Rankings logoLast Friday, I attended a presentation by Robert Morse, Chief Data Strategist at U.S. News on law school rankings at the Texas A&M University School of Law’s virtual Conference for Associate Deans.  Among many other rankings-related topics, Morse provided an update on the upcoming U.S. News law school scholarly impact ranking.  Here are a few highlights:

  • The ranking is still in development – the methodology has not yet been finalized
    • It will use accepted bibliographic measures such as average number of citations, median number of citations, and average number of publications per faculty member
  • The initial ranking, which is expected to be released this year, will only focus on law reviews, other legal publications, and case law as available in HeinOnline
    • However, Morse did note that U.S. News believes that the ranking should be a dynamic survey that expands over the years and that he expected that the methodology will evolve over time
    • He also noted that U.S. News understands that legal scholarship goes beyond law reviews and legal publications and they may expand to include other types of publications later
  • At this time, U.S. News has no plans to incorporate the scholarly impact rankings into the main law school rankings
    • When asked if the scholarly impact ranking would eventually be incorporated into the main ranking, Morse noted that there were no plans to do so. He was careful not to open or close the door to the possibility.
    • He said that initially, they want to put the ranking out there, see what the response is, and how sustainable it is
    • He indicated that it would be a big undertaking to it add-in into the main rankings and they wouldn’t do so lightly

For more on the session and Morse’s remarks, see Paul Caron’s Tax Prof Law blog.  Caron was also part of the session and led a Q&A with Morse.