December 06, 2016

A case study in SSRN downloads, or "Fuck" redux

 My former Texas colleague Mark Lemley (now at Stanford) kindly gave me permission to share this little story he posted on Facebook:

I have an article with the (admittedly extremely boring) title "Rethinking Assignor Estoppel" coming out in the Houston Law Review. It has been on SSRN for nine months. I have posted about it twice on Facebook and Twitter, and it has shown up in all the SSRN journals. In that nine months it has garnered 982 views and 172 SSRN downloads.

 

Late Friday afternoon, prompted by some friends teasing me for the boring headline, I posted the exact same article, with the exact same abstract, but with a new, click-baity title: Inventor Sued for Infringing His Own Patent. You Won't Believe What Happened Next. I did this in part as a joke, and in part as an unscientific test to see how susceptible law professors were to clickbait.

 

The answer is, quite susceptible indeed. In less than two hours on a Friday night the number of views for this "new" article surpassed the old one. In 26 hours, by late Saturday, more people had downloaded the new article than the old one, even though before downloading you are exposed to the same old boring abstract. And by the end of the weekend, the article had been viewed nearly six times as often as the original and downloaded three times as often as the original.

 

The article will soon appear in the Houston Law Review under its old, boring title. But it sure looks like titles matter.

This will remind long-time readers of the late Christopher Fairman's article "Fuck," an even bigger download sensation (see here, here, and here).  Of course, a download surge due to a "clickbait" title doesn't necessarily mean additional actual readers.


December 6, 2016 in Faculty News, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Humor, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 30, 2016

Girlfriend of accused hitman in Markel case indicted for first-degree murder

It seems clear the prosecutors expect either her or Garcia, the accused hitman, to cooperate, so that they can indict some of the Adelsons as well.  Meanwhile, I wonder what patients of the Adelsons' dental practice think?  I think I would have switched dentists some time back in this sordid affair.


November 30, 2016 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

November 29, 2016

A tangle of lawsuits at Brooklyn Law School

November 28, 2016

Lateral hires with tenure or on tenure-track, 2016-17

MOVING TO FRONT--ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 1, 2016

These are non-clinical appointments that will take effect in 2017 (except where noted); I will move the list to the front at various intervals as new additions come in.   (Recent additions are in bold.)  Last year's list is here.

 

*Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (corporate tax, international tax) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to the University of California, Irvine.

 

*Christopher Bruner (corporate law, securities regulation) from Washington & Lee University to the University of Georgia.

 

*Nicolas Cornell (contracts, law & philosophy) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to the University of Michigan (law) (untenured lateral).

 

*Darby Dickerson (higher education law & policy, litigation ethics) from Texas Tech University (where she is currently Dean) to John Marshall Law School, Chicago (to become Dean).

 

*Sam Halabi (health law) from the University of Tulsa to the University of Missouri, Columbia.

 

*David Hoffman (contracts, law & psychology) from Temple University to the University of Pennsylvania.

 

*Kurt Lash (constitutional law) from the University of Illinois to the University of Richmond.

 

*Michael Simkovic (bankruptcy, tax, corporate) from Seton Hall University to the University of Southern California.

 

*Rebecca Tushnet (intellectual property, First Amendment) from Georgetown University to Harvard University.


November 28, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

November 07, 2016

VAPs and Fellowships open thread...

November 02, 2016

University of Oregon law professor went to Halloween Party in blackface

Yikes!

UPDATE:  Now 23 of the professor's colleagues have called on the faculty member to resign if the allegations are true.  That reflects poorly on them, and suggests they have no regard for  contractual and constitutional rights to academic freedom, including the right to engage in racially insensitive extramural speech.  Absent a finding that the professor treats students or colleagues in racially discriminatory ways, there is no reason for the faculty member to resign (apologizing might be a good idea though!).

ANOTHER:  The Daily Mail (not my favorite source, though they often get the facts out quickly on stories like this) reports that the offending faculty member was Prof. Nancy Shurtz, and gives some context for why she was dressed that way at the Halloween party.

HERE IS A BETTER SOURCE identifying Prof. Shurtz, and includes a statement from her.

STILL ANOTHER:  Prof. Shurtz issues a written explanation and apology.  She exercised bad judgment.  Her 23 colleagues exercised even worse judgment.  It's now their turn to apologize!


November 2, 2016 in Faculty News, Law Professors Saying Dumb Things, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 24, 2016

More about Phil Neal...

...whose passing we noted a few weeks ago.  These new interesting anecdotes are courtesy of law professor John Q. Barrett (St. John's).


October 24, 2016 in Faculty News, Memorial Notices | Permalink

October 20, 2016

Not much change in number of schools interviewing at FRC from 2015 to 2016

According to Professor Lawsky, there were 86 law schools at the FRC this past weekend in Washington, DC, compared to 89 in 2015.  This doesn't account for the number of slots schools are looking to fill, but my guess is that, like last year, we will see at least 80 new tenure-track academic faculty hired, perhaps a bit higher.

The 94 in 2013 is misleading, since that was a year in which many schools went to the FRC but did no hiring, due to budgetary stresses.  The real contrast, of course, is with the last reasonably good year on the market, 2012-13, when 142 schools participated in the FRC.


October 20, 2016 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

October 12, 2016

New Minnesota Law Dean talks about adjusting to significant application and enrollment declines

October 11, 2016

Hitman Rivera, who took a plea, implicate Wendi Adelson with knowledge of the plot to kill Markel