New Scholarship Finds that Law Scholarship Posted to SSRN Enjoys a Citation Advantage

New scholarship by Rob Willey and Melanie Knapp at George Mason University School of Law finds that legal scholars who post their work to SSRN are cited more often.  Their working paper, SSRN’s Impact on Citations to Legal Scholarship and How to Maximize It, is highly recommended reading for law librarians and others interested in promoting law faculty scholarly visibility.

Below is a summary of findings from Willey & Knapp and their advice for legal scholars:

  • There is a citation advantage to posting on SSRN: Most well-cited papers have corresponding SSRN postings.
  • Post to SSRN before publication: Our data indicate that it is best to post to SSRN before journal publication.
  • SSRN’s advantage may be stronger than other open-source options: When choosing between open-source platforms, SEO tools indicate that SSRN may have advantages over smaller sites. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
  • Write a longer SSRN abstract: Our top-cited group of articles tended to have longer SSRN abstracts, with an average of 276 words and a median of 264.
  • Maximize the value of your SSRN postings: Posting to SSRN is a great first step, but make sure you get the most from your posting by selecting ejournals carefully, choosing keywords, and crafting a good abstract.