Friday, February 15, 2008
In a comment on David Bernstein's post on Barack Obama's tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review for Volume 104, LawStatMan reports that the volume "has been cited [by law reviews] at the lowest rate of any volume published over the past twenty years" -- 170/year v. 262/year for vols. 101-13, 105-18. The full stats are available here. Although some have siezed on this data to argue that Obama was "a lousy president of the Harvard Law Review," I agree with Mitch Rubinstein that "the amount of times a volume Obama edited is totally irrelevant to his Presidential bid. It says nothing about his qualifications to be President. It also says nothing about his ability to be a lawyer or law professor."
But I take issue with Mtich's further comment that "an editor does not control the quality of articles he was given that year" -- it seems to me that to the extent citation counts tell us anything about a law review's performance, to properly measure Obama's tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review, one would have to distinguish between those issues of volume 104 that contained articles chosen by his predecessors and those issues of volumes 104 and 105 that contained articles chosen by Obama and his articles editor team.
Update: Al Brophy has more on The Faculty Lounge.