Monday, June 4, 2007
A colleague at DePaul made the helpful suggestion that I should describe the methodology for the citation study for which I have been soliciting corrections to the draft faculty lists. I shall utilize the same search methodology as in the July 2005 study. The two differences will be that (1) we shall search every non-emeritus tenure-stream member of the academic faculty, in order to secure the per capita rate of citation; and (2) the searches will be confined to literature in the databases that has appeared from 2000 to the present. (We will also need to employ a discount factor, since the data collection will take several days, during which time the database may increase in size. We will use the citation total for Cass Sunstein as the measure of how much the database increases during the period when the data is being collected, since he is the most frequently cited legal scholar in the U.S.)
I would be pleased if schools want to submit the results of self-studies as a check on our process. The data will probably be collected in late June or in early July.
I would welcome constructive feedback aimed at improving the method; I have received lots of enormously helpful feedback over the years. But please, if you are going to comment, try to do so in a way that is not transparently self-serving; I have already received too much of that, and it is tiresome. Think of this from the standpoint of: what is the most effective and efficient way to measure the scholarly impact of a law faculty, taking into account the limitations of the available databases? Examples of questions on which I am especially interested in hearing people's views are: (1) whether there are better databases than Westlaw's JLR database or whether there are good databases to supplement the JLR database; (2) whether most clinical faculty are now expected to produce scholarship as a major portion of their duties (this bears on the question of whether it is fair to include clinical faculty in the study--so far, I have only heard from clinical faculty seeking inclusion; I have yet to hear from any Deans or non-clinical faculty making the case that their clinical colleagues should be included).
Do not report that the Westlaw JLR database does not include some journals in which law professors publish. Everyone knows that (it is certainly true in my own fields). We are looking at per capita impact of entire faculties; unless there is some reason to think that the gaps in the database will produce systematic advantages or disadvantages, the fact that it does not include your favorite journal is neither here nor there. (It does not include the journal I edit, Legal Theory, which may not be my favorite journal, but it's one I like!!!)
Only signed, verifiable comments will stand a chance of being published. (Even though I wrote this last time, some people submitted anonymous comments. None of those appeared, needless to say.) I will approve those comments which make a substantive point that is actually relevant to the issues noted above. Irrational and self-serving rants, like Professor Neumann's, can go elsewhere. (I have been fortunate to receive some quite informative e-mails from clinical faculty, and I would like to hear from more.)