Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

U.S. News To Publish Law Faculty Scholarly Impact Ranking Based On 2014-2018 Citations

U.S. News Law (2019)Robert Morse (U.S. News Chief Data Strategist), U.S. News Considers Evaluating Law School Scholarly Impact:

U.S. News & World Report is expanding its Best Law Schools data collection with the goal of creating a new ranking that would evaluate the scholarly impact of law schools across the U.S.

The intent is to analyze each law school’s scholarly impact based on a number of accepted indicators that measure its faculty’s productivity and impact using citations, publications and other bibliometric measures.

U.S. News is collaborating with William S. Hein & Co. Inc., the world's largest distributor of legal periodicals, to complete this analysis.

To begin the process, U.S. News is asking each law school to provide U.S. News with the names and other details of its fall 2018 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty.

This information will be used to link the names of each individual law school's faculty to citations and publications that were published in the previous five years and are available in HeinOnline, an online database of historical and government documents. This includes such measures as mean citations per faculty member, median citations per faculty member and total number of publications.

U.S. News will then use those indicators to create a comprehensive scholarly impact ranking of law schools.

Scholarly impact will not be a factor in the overall Best Law Schools rankings published by U.S. News in the late winter or early spring 2019. Rather, U.S. News is considering publishing a separate law school scholarly impact ranking during the 2019 calendar year.


Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink


First I need to see any data supporting a link between faculty scholarship and bar pass rates or excellence in the work of graduates. In other words, how important is scholarship for a professional degree? Does the scholarship of professors have anything to do with the caliber of the legal education? Frankly, I doubt it.

Posted by: Brian Buckley | Feb 16, 2019 12:36:46 AM

Irrelevant magazine announces even more irrelevant rankings; footage at eleven.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 14, 2019 8:48:30 AM

Nice idea. Not great for peer reviewed work or books or book chapters - in other words this will reinforce the law review problem.

Posted by: Steve Diamond | Feb 13, 2019 8:56:41 PM

If a non-tenure track faculty member is a great scholar and would add enough to a school's scholarly impact, presumably this will make schools want to convert the non-tenured faculty into tenure track faculty members so that the school can count their scholarship and benefit in the rankings.

This could actually provide a huge boost for non-tenure track faculty members, at least the most productive ones.

Posted by: Tenure | Feb 13, 2019 6:19:24 PM

Nice start. But it ignores faculty publications in books, on their institutional repositories, and in in peer-reviewed publications in other disciplines.

Posted by: Brian Huffman | Feb 13, 2019 4:21:59 PM

So in determining a school's "scholarly impact," U.S. News is going to ignore scholarship published by faculty who are not tenured or on the tenure track? What a great way to devalue their work. Not only are they placed into second-class citizen status at their schools, but they've been rendered invisible in terms of their scholarship. Yes, as a matter of fact, a great number of non-tenure-track full-time faculty engage in and published legal scholarship.

Posted by: Coleen Barger | Feb 13, 2019 12:33:45 PM

Nice idea. Not great for interdisciplinary work.

Posted by: Hein | Feb 13, 2019 11:13:21 AM