Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SSRN Downloads, Once Again...and Some More Skeptical Thoughts

So the new updated SSRN download data is on-line.  There is so much wrong with the aggregate download data, it's hard to know where to begin, but let's start with something that obviously catches my eye.  Texas now ranks 2nd (behind Harvard) for the most downloads in the last 12 months.  Of the 28,000 downloads, two people account for about 19,000 of those downloads:  me and Bernie Black (Bernie for more than me).  Subtract us, and Texas slips just outside the top 20.  Now Bernie and I are wonderful, to be sure, but this does seem to overstate our importance to UT's scholarly reputation.  (Some of you may have heard of my colleagues Philip Bobbitt and Sanford Levinson and Lawrence Sager...they're pretty good too, actually.  But they don't play the SSRN game.)  (Things aren't much better for Harvard, where one faculty member, Lucian Bebchuk, accounts for more than one third of all the school's downloads in the last 12 months.)

Another curiosity:  Ohio State ranks 18th in total downloads in the last 12 months, with 10,715...but 6,528 of those are due to one faculty member, Christopher Fairman, and almost all of those are due to one provocatively titled paper.

SSRN downloads make for amusing chatter and fairly meaningless competition...but that's about all, I suspect.

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