Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Following up on yesterday's post, 2016 Google Law Review Rankings:
Brian Leiter (Chicago), Annals of "Bullshit" Rankings:
The problem (we've encountered it in philosophy in the past, but now everyone there knows Google Scholar is worthless for measuring journal impact) is that there is no control for the volume of publishing by each journal, so any journal that publishes more pages and articles per year will do better than a peer journal with the same actual impact that publishes fewer articles and pages.
Rob Anderson (Pepperdine), Google Scholar Releases 2016 Journal Rankings, Controversy Ensues:
Leiter's arguments are (mostly) incorrect. And as my previous posts about Google Scholar were used as part of the ranking, I felt the need to respond. ...
Leiter's comment about "more pages" having an effect on the Google Scholar ranking is (mostly) unfounded. Although at least one study has suggested that more pages in an article lead to more citations, the effect is modest compared to other factors....
One could argue that the journals should be ranked by the "h5-median" (which is easy to do from the provided information) or that the h5-index should be weighted less than the h5-median, but the ranking itself is only marginally sensitive to journal volume output and the number of pages doesn't directly affect the ranking at all.
So although Google Scholar may or may not be "the best" way of ranking law journals, it's certainly not worthless. It provides valuable information alongside other measures of journal quality, and is clearly superior to some other well-known methods of citation ranking. Among other advantages, Google Scholar is not limited to the somewhat provincial Westlaw JLR database.