July 17, 2012
Measuring Faculty Quality By Citations
Posted by David Zaring

The Leiter/Sisk citation study of law school faculty quality (assessed with law review citations over the last five years) is quite addictive.  And, in my view, the surprising outcomes - the too highs and too lows (George Washington and Georgetown must be having different kind of conniptions right now) - are more thought provoking than clearly wrong.  So hooray for all the work, and all of the careful design.

I do wonder, however, how long law review citation studies like this one will capture aspirations that law school faculties actually have.  A lot of the younger JD-PhDs, who do careful work that isn't very accessible to very many law professors, will never do well on law review citation metrics.  As I think a comparison of your own mental list of whom the best quantitative social science business law professors are with a list of the most cited business law professors would reveal.  But at the same time, my sense is that many faculties are pushing hard in a social science direction.  What will happen if these trends continue?  We could see the building of a professional elite whose work can't get arrested in student notes and survey articles.

Maybe, anyway.  But it isn't clear to me how that market will clear.

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