In her recent article, Ashley Ahlbrand offers great advice for legal scholars and law librarians on Capturing Impact: Telling the Story of Your Scholarship Beyond the Citation Count. She explores the shortcomings of citation metrics in evaluating scholarly impact, then broadly examines the various forms scholarship can take, and ends with a discussion of other measures, tools, and strategies for “painting a more holistic picture of scholarly impact.”
I especially appreciated her discussion on “why we write” in which she explores the functions of scholarship beyond traditional law journal research, or “scholarship of discovery.” These functions, established by Ernest Boyer, include “scholarship of integration,” aka cross- and multi-disciplinary scholarship, in which one’s research contributes to a larger body of knowledge; “scholarship of application” in which ones’ writing, such as a brief or written testimony, is applied to societal problems; and “scholarship of teaching” in which the scholar educates the students of today to be stronger practitioners tomorrow. All of these functions are interrelated and equally important, yet only the first is captured by most legal citation metrics.
Toward the end of the piece, Ahlbrand highlights approaches and tools that scholars can use to tell their own story of scholarly impact. She offers specific advice for making the most of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, as well as blogs, presentations, and podcasts. For librarians, I highly recommend reading the section on law library strategies for improving faculty scholarly exposure. At UW Law, we’ve engaged in all of these strategies and found them to be quite successful. Although the whole piece is worth reading, if you’re looking for a quick reference, check out appendix B for a Checklist of Strategies for Promoting & Tracking Scholarly Impact.