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Measuring Scholarly Impact: A Guide for Law School Administrators and Legal Scholars

14 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2017 Last revised: 26 Apr 2017

Gary Lucas, Jr.

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: March 15, 2017

Abstract

Texas A&M University assesses its colleges and departments based partly on scholarly impact and using quantitative metrics. The law school’s dean has assigned me the task of identifying scholarly impact metrics for use in assessing the performance of our law faculty collectively and individually. This essay discusses the major issues that arise in measuring the impact of legal scholarship. It also explains important scholarly impact metrics, including the Leiter score and Google Scholar h-index, and the major sources of information regarding scholarly impact, including Google Scholar, Westlaw, HeinOnline, SSRN, and bepress.

I intend for this essay to serve as a guide for law deans and legal scholars interested in measuring the impact of legal scholarship. In addition, university administrators should find it helpful for comparing the impact of their own law faculty’s scholarship with the scholarship of law faculties at other universities. The primary obstacle to such comparisons is a dearth of publicly available information. To that end, the essay recommends that each law school create a Google Scholar profile for its faculty and explains the procedure for doing so. By acting on this recommendation, administrators would dramatically improve our ability to assess the impact of legal scholarship. Moreover, a ranking of faculties by Google Scholar citation count would provide a much-needed supplement to existing rankings schemes, including ranking schools based on U.S. News peer reputation score.

Keywords: citations, scholarly impact, Leiter score, h-index, Google Scholar, peer reputation

Suggested Citation

Lucas, Jr., Gary, Measuring Scholarly Impact: A Guide for Law School Administrators and Legal Scholars (March 15, 2017). 165 U. Pa. L. Rev. Online 165 (2017); Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2934032

Gary Lucas, Jr. (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

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