My Year of Citation Studies, Part 2
Law Library Journal, Vol. 110, No. 2, pp. 283-94 (2018)
13 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018
Date Written: Spring 2018
What can we learn by examining patterns of citations to law journal articles? In this installment of my four-part series, I look at a sample of 32 law journals. It's a small sample, but has variety: general and specialty journals from law schools that are private and public, large and small. Using HeinOnline's ScholarCheck, I counted citations to all the articles and student pieces published in 2012 in those journals.
Surprisingly (to me), the journals varied widely in the proportion of their pieces that were written by students, from 0% to 75%.
Some journals were cited much more often than others. I discuss factors that could lead to this result.
The differences were much more pronounced for articles (works by professors and lawyers) than for student pieces.
The journals' performance tracked their reputation rank from an informal survey of faculty and staff. For example, the people surveyed thought that the Yale Law Journal was a better journal than the Akron Law Review and, sure enough, articles in the former were cited much more than those in the latter. An unremarkable finding, perhaps, but worth noting.
Individual pieces also varied greatly in their citing success. The resulting graphs (for articles and for student works) are beautiful examples "long tails." As in retail, the less popular items still have a market: the 500th most cited article was still cited: someone found it useful enough to cite.
Part 1 is at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3205672.
Keywords: law journals, law reviews, legal periodicals, bibliometrics, HeinOnline
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