For the last few years, I’ve been following the issue of legal citation metrics and scholarly impact and visibility very closely. I’m pleased to share that my new paper entitled, Representing Law Faculty Scholarly Impact: Strategies for Improving Citation Metrics and Promoting Scholarly Visibility is now available via SSRN. I will be presenting the paper at the Yale Virtual Symposium on Citation and the Law on April 22 and 23, 2021. Registration opens soon.
Here’s the abstract:
In February 2019, U.S. News and World Report announced that it would expand its Best Law Schools data to include a new scholarly impact ranking of U.S. law schools using citations and publications from HeinOnline to measure faculty productivity. This news generated numerous questions and concerns from the legal academic community about this metric and how it will be calculated. Chief among these concerns is that the exclusion of interdisciplinary scholarship and books would create an incomplete representation of law faculty scholarly impact.
This article examines the new U.S. News scholarly impact ranking and its use of HeinOnline as a data source. It compares law journal and interdisciplinary scholarship citation metrics and explores how the exclusion of the latter may severely skew scholarly impact rankings against some law schools. The remainder of this article suggests strategies to improve the accuracy of citation metrics for legal scholars and promote the visibility of their scholarship. This practical advice will benefit anyone interested in representing the scholarly impact of law faculty to its fullest effect, including legal scholars, law school administrators, and communications departments. These strategies will also interest law librarians whose extensive knowledge of research sources and methods and commitment to supporting faculty scholarship makes them uniquely qualified to bolster scholarly impact and promote scholarly visibility at their institutions.