Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Measuring Impact of Property Scholars

A few weeks ago I posted Brian Leiter's list of most-cited property scholars.  As Nicholas Blomley and I discussed in the comments to that post, Professor Leiter's list is parochial by design:  it includes only professors at US law schools.  It therefore excludes some scholars who have had a large impact on U.S. property scholarship, such as Hanoch Dagan (because he is not at a U.S. law school), or Bill Fischel (because his appointment is in economics).  Because the citation study is done using Westlaw's JLR database, the study also obviously focuses on impact on U.S. legal scholars, and excludes property scholars with high impact in other disciplines or in other countries.  All of this got me thinking about the following questions:

(1) Using Professor Leiter's methodology, are there any U.S. legal scholars who were missed?  The study measures journal citations from the past five years, so it captures the people who are most cited in recent scholarship, not the people who have the most citations overall.  I think that Patty Salkin would make the list.  Are there others?

(2) Sticking only with the JLR database, and therefore impact on U.S. property scholarship, but including academics from other disciplines and from non-U.S. law schools, who else might have had a large impact on U.S. property scholarship?  I just did a quick search on Elinor Ostrom, who had quite a few hits but not as many as I would have expected given the importance of her work.

(3) Widening the scope even further, would it be possible to measure the highest impact property scholars worldwide?  What databases could be used?

(4) Without strict reference to citation-based impact measures, who are the most important property scholars in non-U.S. law schools and in disciplines other than law?

Any thoughts on any of these questions would be very welcome.

Ben Barros

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