Editorial Bias in Legal Academia
30 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 1, 2013
In academia, journals serve as a proxy for quality, where prestigious journals are presumed to publish articles of higher quality than their less prestigious counterparts. Concerns over editorial bias in selecting articles, however, challenge this claim. This article develops a framework for evaluating this bias in legal academia, examining over 25,000 articles from nearly 200 general interest law reviews. Examining published articles in law reviews — the dominant venue for scholarship — and subsequent citations to these articles, we find that, with few exceptions, law reviews publish more articles from faculty at their own institution than from faculty at other law schools. Law review publications of their own faculty are cited less frequently than publications of outside faculty. This disparity is more pronounced among higher-ranked law reviews, but occurs across the entire distribution of journals. We correspondingly find that law faculty publish their lesser-cited articles in their own law review relative to their articles published in other law reviews. These findings suggest that legal scholarship, in contrast to other academic disciplines, exhibits bias in article selection at the expense of lower quality.
Keywords: Legal scholarship
JEL Classification: I2, J7, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation