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Pepperdine University School of Law

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SSRN Tax Professor Rankings

SSRN

SSRN has updated its monthly rankings of 663 American and international law school faculties and 1,500 law professors by (among other things) the number of paper downloads from the SSRN data base.  Here is the new list (through October 16, 2010) of the Top 25 U.S. Tax Professors in two of the SSRN categories: all-time downloads and recent downloads (within the past 12 months):

 

 

All-Time Downloads

 

Recent Downloads

1

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

17,209

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

6272

2

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

15,514

Paul Caron (Cincinnati)

6239

3

Vic Fleischer (Colorado)

14,165

Reuven Avi-Yonah (Michigan)

4597

4

Paul Caron (Cincinnati)

13,942

Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

3862

5

James Hines (Michigan)

13,276

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

3858

6

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

10,465

Jennifer Kowal (Loyola-L.A.)

3579

7

Chris Sanchirico (Penn)

9740

Francine Lipman (Chapman)

2574

8

David Walker (BU)

9580

Dennis Ventry (UC-Davis)

2181

9

David Weisbach (Chicago)

9312

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

1865

10

Ed McCaffery (USC)

8900

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

1859

11

Ted Seto (Loyola-L.A.)

8899

James Hines (Michigan)

1694

12

Richard Kaplan (Illinois)

8564

Bradley Borden (Brooklyn)

1646

13

Francine Lipman (Chapman)

8162

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

1626

14

Robert Sitkoff (Harvard)

8150

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

1618

15

Steven Bank (UCLA)

7444

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

1585

16

Herwig Schlunk (Vanderbilt)

7347

Martin J. McMahon, Jr. (Florida)

1574

17

Carter Bishop (Suffolk)

7226

Allison Christians (Wisconsin)

1559

18

Bradley Borden (Brooklyn)

7183

Vic Fleischer (Colorado)

1533

19

Daniel Shaviro (NYU)

6598

Louis Kaplow (Harvard)

1531

20

Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore)

6579

David Walker (BU)

1385

21

David Schizer (Columbia)

6241

Ruth Mason (Connecticut)

1345

22

Michael Knoll (Penn)

6236

David Weisbach (Chicago)

1302

23

Katherine Pratt (Loyola-L.A.)

6104

Steven Bank (UCLA)

1260

24

Bridget Crawford (Pace)

5878

Joshua Blank (NYU)

1260

25

Ruth Mason (Connecticut)

5429

Daniel Simmons (UC-Davis)

1245

Note that this ranking includes full-time tax professors with at least one tax paper on SSRN, and all papers (including non-tax papers) by these tax professors are included in the SSRN data.

The other SSRN ranking categories are:

These rankings, of course, are imperfect measures of faculty scholarly performance -- as are the existing ranking methodologies of reputation surveys, productivity counts, and citation counts. Our modest claim in our article, Ranking Law Schools: Using SSRN to Measure Scholarly Performance, 81 Ind. L.J. 83 (2006) (Symposium on The Next Generation of Law School Rankings), is that the SSRN data can play a role in faculty rankings along with these other measures.  Bill Henderson (Indiana) thinks we are too modest, and that SSRN may provide a better measure of faculty performance than these other methodologies.

For my other articles on what SSRN downloads can tell us about the current state and future of legal scholarship, and about the relationship between scholarship and blogging, see:

For Ted Seto's faculty-wide (and metropolitan area-wide) analysis of these SSRN tax rankings, see:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/10/ssrn-tax.html

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Comments

Aren't those rankings merely an indicator of the timeliness of professors' research papers and the breadth of their subjects, as well as their sheer volume of productivity? I have often noticed summary-style papers in the top 5 downloads for any given period. Surely those do not reflect excellence in scholarship.

Personally I would much rather see professors expend their precious time and energy on research subjects that have value to those in the real world, and stop flooding us with papers on distributive justice and other topics that play well in the echo chamber of academia but fall flat anywhere else...

Posted by: Todd | Oct 26, 2010 7:23:54 AM

Paul: Do you generate these rankings manually? I don't see any was on SSRN's site to break down the top law author list by legal specialty. If you generate them manually, how do you decide who is and who isn't a tax professor? Some folks (like my friend and co author Bill Klein) combine tax and, say, corporate. Steve

Posted by: Steve Bainbridge | Oct 26, 2010 6:21:02 PM

I like it- moving toward a more resonable objective criteria rather than random subjective guess. Bias? Even U.S. News which claims "objective criteria" has built in bias. One example is the volume of books in a library. When I was at Harvard, they counted the Southern Reporter 4-5 times as they would have zillions of the same book in the library-hence a larger library-hence a higher rating-but in any event the objective criteria is better- like the one used above.

Posted by: Nick Paleveda MBA J.D. LL.M | Oct 27, 2010 7:26:39 AM