October 6, 2009
Journal Cost-Effective Index for Legal Periodicals
Ted Bergstrom and Preston McAfee have created the Journal Cost-Effective Index (2009 Beta). From the description:
This website represents our best attempt to compute the price per article and price per citation. Currently we use the ISI data for citations through 2007 and 2009 prices, which are the most recent data available to us. Not all journals report information the same way, and errors are possible. When reported to us, we correct errors. Moreover, prices per unit for journals that have recently expanded are underestimated. The coloration (red for very low value, yellow for low value, and green for good value) is computed by comparing the composite price index to the median for non-profit journals in the same subject. Be advised that price per citation, price per article and the composite index are not perfect measures of value. Neither of us are experts in most of the fields represented, and others may reasonably, or unreasonably, disagree with the value assessment. We have mapped a large set of journal categories into 17 areas. Here is the full mapping. We have updated the non-profit status of nearly 100 journals by writing to editors.
If you select "law" and click on the search link, the results will display the above information for 94 academic law review, commercial, professional association and peer review titles covered in the database. Of course, academic law review titles end up being ranked as "good values" because they are so cheap while commercial law journals are ranked as "very low values" because they are much more expensive. Where does LLJ stand? It's price per article is 3.09, per citation is 7.09 and it is rated a "good value."
For legal journals, the database output is a bit silly. Remember the database is using ISI citation data only and lumping apples and oranges together doesn't work very well. Authors in other disciplines do not benefit from the available of so many low subscription cost student-edited titles. The database is probably more useful in other fields, e.g., Physics, where subscription costs for profit and non-profit titles are much more comparable to each other.
A bit of fun but not particularly useful for legal journals. [JH]