Representing Law Faculty Scholarly Impact: Strategies for Improving Citation Metrics Accuracy and Promoting Scholarly Visibility

Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1692

Citation and the Law Spring 2021 Yale Symposium

40 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 81 (2021)

41 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2021 Last revised: 10 Nov 2021

See all articles by Bonnie J. Shucha

Bonnie J. Shucha

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: March 19, 2021

Abstract

In February 2019, U.S. News and World Report announced that it would expand its Best Law Schools data to include a new scholarly impact ranking of U.S. law schools using citations and publications from HeinOnline to measure faculty productivity. This news generated numerous questions and concerns from the legal academic community about this metric and how it will be calculated. Chief among these concerns is that the exclusion of interdisciplinary scholarship and books would create an incomplete representation of law faculty scholarly impact.

This article examines the new U.S. News scholarly impact ranking and its use of HeinOnline as a data source. It compares law journal and interdisciplinary scholarship citation metrics and explores how the exclusion of the latter may severely skew scholarly impact rankings against some law schools. The remainder of this article suggests strategies to improve the accuracy of citation metrics for legal scholars and promote the visibility of their scholarship. This practical advice will benefit anyone interested in representing the scholarly impact of law faculty to its fullest effect, including legal scholars, law school administrators, and communications departments. These strategies will also interest law librarians whose extensive knowledge of research sources and methods and commitment to supporting faculty scholarship makes them uniquely qualified to bolster scholarly impact and promote scholarly visibility at their institutions.

Keywords: scholarly impact, scholarly visibility, scholarly publishing, citation analysis, citation metrics, legal citations, law school rankings, law faculty, legal scholars, legal education, legal scholarship, interdisciplinary scholarship, law librarianship, US News and World Report, HeinOnline, ORCID

Suggested Citation

Shucha, Bonnie J., Representing Law Faculty Scholarly Impact: Strategies for Improving Citation Metrics Accuracy and Promoting Scholarly Visibility (March 19, 2021). Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1692, Citation and the Law Spring 2021 Yale Symposium, 40 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 81 (2021) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3808250

Bonnie J. Shucha (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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