Monday, March 7, 2022

"Web of Science" may record "impact" in some disciplines, but not necessarily *inter*disciplinary impact

Kevin Gerson, the Director of the law library at UCLA, writes:

You’ve noted several issues with the Vanderbilt scholarly impact study. I’d like to add to the list another issue with interdisciplinary scholarly impact studies.

A non-law article written by someone currently on a law faculty may not, by those facts alone, be widely regarded as “interdisciplinary” with law. Take, for example, this article: The 1000 Genomes Project Consortium, A map of human genome variation from population-scale sequencing, Nature 467, 1061–1073 (2010), https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09534. This article is purely computational genomics. It has had no impact on legal scholarship, yet one of its scientist/authors currently sits on a law school faculty. The article in Web of Science shows over 5300 citations, which would make that particular author one of the most cited legal scholars of all time if the article is included in measuring legal scholarly impact. The irony is that the other 400+ authors of that article would also be considered among the most impactful legal scholars of all time by virtue of that single article as long as they could get a joint appointment on a law faculty. That seems like an undesirable outcome.

https://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2022/03/web-of-science-may-record-impact-in-some-disciplines-but-not-necessarily-interdisciplinary-impact.html

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