Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
I have received a number of emails about my Sunday post How Important are European, Canadian and Australian Law Journals (and Scholarship) to US Scholars? Not Much in which I found very low citation rates for non-US journals by US law reviews. None of the professors who emailed me wanted to go on the record and state their names but what surprised me was the broad agreement between both US and European professors on the reasons for the low citation counts. The explanations for the low citation counts according to this set of professors (all of whom write in antitrust/competition law but who also provided comments more broadly about non-US legal scholarship):
- European journals tend to focus on doctrinal developments
- European law professors have a rudimentary analysis of the economics of competition and their scholarship is closer to the style of 1960s US law reviews
- Many European developments are written about narrowly so as not to have broader impact outside of a European audience
- The Journal of Competition Law and Economics gets cited because lots of economists write for them and their work has greater relevance to US law professors
- European legal scholarship overall is weaker than US scholarship
- What top UK and European journals look for is not cutting edge and what are essentially case reviews oftentimes place in the top journals
- You cannot write law and economics work in German law schools which means that the German scholars most likely to have an impact in the United States often do not teach in Germany
- Peer review in the European context hurts good European scholarship because too many senior people are not sophisticated and therefore want more work like their own
- The best scholars write in non-European peer review or US law reviews This email also noted that European law professors (of which the person who composed the email message is one) wished European scholars overall were as good as Israeli scholars in terms of placements in US law reviews and peer review publications. Along similar lines, he noted that the best Canadian scholars regularly place their work in US law reviews.
- The European Law and Economics Association meeting is almost entirely economists unlike the US and Canadian meetings. This tells us quite a bit about the state of sophisticated legal scholarship in Europe.
- The harshest critic wrote "Compare the antitrust offerings of Oxford and Cambridge University Presses USA vs. Oxford and Cambridge University Presses UK" and then gave examples that it is better that I not post.