The General Role Played by Specialty Law Journals: Empirical Evidence from Bankruptcy Scholarship
American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Vol. 80, p. 523, 2006
26 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2013 Last revised: 6 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2006
This empirical study compares the citation rates from general law reviews and specialty journals using bankruptcy scholarship as the lens. All things being equal, to get cited in the law reviews one should publish in general law reviews and join the faculty of a highly ranked school. Highly ranked general law reviews get cited more than lower ranked general law reviews. In turn, general law reviews as a group get cited more than specialty journals as a group. Legal academics get cited more than nonacademics.
When it comes to citations in the case law, the situation is dramatically different. Academics are not generally favored, but academic reputation is favored. More interestingly, not only do specialty journals outperform general law reviews overall, but lower-ranked general law reviews outperform law reviews from more highly ranked law schools. Older articles have more citations in the case law than do newer articles, whereas the converse is true for citations in the law reviews. Our data indicate that specialty journals may be filling a gap created by the most elite general law reviews. As general law reviews have become increasingly dominated by law professors writing for the attention of each other, the specialty journals have been publishing articles that provide information more likely to be of use to the bench and the bar. It could be said that the general law reviews specialize in the academy just as the specialty journals could be seen as specializing in the bench and the bar.
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