Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ranking Law Reviews Based on Citations

I love rankings of law journals based on citations.  So when I saw Paul Butler (and then Larry Solum and now Dan Solove) linking to Emory Law Library's website list of contact information of the 35 most cited law reviews, I was excited.  Emory's list is quite helpful; in fact, we need someone to compile a list of the top 50 or maybe even 75.  I certainly need to submit to more than 35 journals and I suspect most people do, too.

But what do we make of the journals on the Emory law library list?  They (like I) use John Doyle's list of citations at the Washington and Lee Library website.  It's the gold standard, in my opinion.  I've used Doyle's data for two papers on the relationship between law review citations and law school rankings.  My most recent paper looks at changes over time in the law review citations and changes in the US News rankings of those reviews' parent institutions.  The executive summary is available here.  In that paper I focus on Doyle's overall citations; but Emory uses Doyle's data to rank journals by impact (citations per article/note/comment/book review).

If Emory used overall citations rather than impact, there would be some changes.  Five reviews on Emory's list aren't in the top 35 of overall citations (actually, there are 36 schools on the Emory website because Villanova and Wisconsin are tied for 35).  Here are the five law reviews that are on the Emory list of top 35 in terms of impact but are not in the top 35 in terms of overall citations (the rank in paratheses is their rank in terms of overall citations):

Boston College Law Review (ranked 36)
Univeristy of California, Davis (ranked 40)
Villanova Law Review (ranked 47)
Wake Forest Law Review (ranked 44)
Wisconsin Law Review (ranked 38)
Washington Law Review (ranked 48)

There are also four that are in the top 35 of overall citations, but not in the top 35 in impact.  Here are the four reviews (again, rank in overall citations is in parenthses):

Fordham Law Review (tied for 9)
Cardozo Law Review (ranked 26)
Tulane Law Review (ranked 29)
University of Connecticut Law Review (ranked 33)

The Emory list is very useful.  Here's hoping they'll add some more contact information.  One final caution: remember, the ranking of law journals that bepress presents is problematic.

UPDATE:  A reader reminded me this evening that Doyle's outstanding website at W&L has a submit feature, which facilitates submission via email.  He has detailed information on how to e-submit, including email addresses.  He provides a lot of the functions of the bepress, but for free.  Doyle's awesome.

Alfred L. Brophy
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