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Monday, June 13, 2005

Most Cited Legal Periodicals (1997-2004)

John Doyle at Washington & Lee Law School has updated data about the most cited legal periodicals from 1997 through 2004.   The list consists of over 1000 journals.  The top 25 are:

1. Harvard Law Review

2. Yale Law Journal

3. Columbia Law Review

4. Stanford Law Review

5. Michigan Law Review

6. NYU Law Review

7. Fordham Law Review

8. Georgetown Law Journal

9. California Law Review

10. Virginia Law Review

11. Texas Law Review

12. Cornell Law Review

13. U. Chicago Law Review

14. UCLA Law Review

15. Vanderbilt Law Review

16. U. Penn. Law Review

17. Minnesota Law Review

18. Northwestern Law Review

19. American Journal of International Law

20. William & Mary Law Review

21. Notre Dame Law Review

22. North Carolina Law Review

23. Duke Law Journal

24. Southern California Law Review

25. Indiana Law Journal

This is not an all-time list.  According to the description of the methodology:

Counted citations are those which cite journal volumes published in the preceding eight years. The reason for this limit is to prevent a bias in favor of long-published journals. Thus the study is concerned only with citations to current scholarship. The search results give only the number of citing documents, and do not show where a citing article or case cites to two or more articles in a cited legal periodical. Sources for the citation counts are limited to documents in Westlaw's JLR database (primarily U.S. articles), and in Westlaw's ALLCASES database (U.S. federal/state cases).

Generally – although not always – law review prestige is roughly correlated to a law school’s U.S. News & World Report ranking.  The most interesting divergence between a journal’s ranking vis-à-vis the law school’s ranking is Fordham, which is the 7th most cited law review but the 27th ranked school.

I wonder how many of these journals achieve their ranking because of just one or two frequently-cited articles, with the rest of the articles receiving virtually no citations.  Should such a law review be ranked above one that is more consistent in publishing articles that are well-cited but that lacks a mega-hit? 

Citation counts are a very troublesome metric for quality or influence, as well discussed by Brian Leiter.  Nevertheless, every time I see a ranking based on citations, I can’t help but look.  It’s like Krispy Kreme donuts – very bad for you, but hard to resist. 

Posted by Daniel Solove on June 13, 2005 at 03:01 AM in Daniel Solove, Life of Law Schools | Permalink

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