Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Over the last few years, we have witnessed important changes in the antitrust academic journal community. As new journals have emerged (e.g., Journal of Competition Law and Economics, European Competition Journal, Competition Law Review), I think that the traditional antitrust specific journals (Antitrust Law Journal and the Antitrust Bulletin) have lost a number of articles to competitors. Over time, I predict a decline of the relative standing of the Antitrust Bulletin. The first of two big problems for this impressive journal is that the current publisher seems to do a very poor marketing job. There is no dedicated website for the journal. In the internet age, this is really inexcusable. Moreover, the lack of Westlaw and Lexis searchability for the Antitrust Bulletin significantly limits its impact factor (as does the strong opposition to allowing authors to post working paper versions on SSRN). Given the number of excellent articles that have appeared over the years in the Antitrust Bulletin, I was shocked to discover that it was only the 448th most cited law journal. Compare this to the Antitrust Law Journal, the 101st most cited law review (not bad for a peer reviewed specialty journal). Authors will flock to other journals that do a better marketing job as visibility and citation count will affect, if they do not do so already, submission decisions.
More generally, I am interested in comparing placements of antitrust articles now versus the past. The sense that I have is that antitrust articles tend to have fewer top placements in non-symposia issue general law reviews than in the past and that there has been a migration to specialty journals and peer review journals over the past 15 years -- if not earlier. I am told that the Milton Handler antitrust symposium used to be a yearly feature in the Columbia Law Review. For quite some time, it has been relegated to the Columbia Business Law Review. The only antitrust article to appear in a Top 10 main law review in 2007 was Dan Crane's review of Herb Hovenkamp's Antitrust Enterprise as part of the special Michigan Law Review book review issue. Compare this to 1990, in which there were antitrust articles in the Columbia Law Review, Chicago Law Review, Michigan Law Review (by my colleague Bill Page), Stanford Law Review, Duke Law Journal, and Harvard Law Review.