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This study examines the effects of the data source on citation metrics and faculty rankings by comparing three sources of legal scholarship citation data: Google Scholar, Westlaw, and HeinOnline. It compares six years of citations to works by all of the tenured and tenure-track members of the top twenty-eight faculties as determined by two recent legal citation studies. Rankings generated using the Leiter-Sisk method on the data from the three sources showed moderate to high correlation (0. 77 to 0. 96) to each other. Total citations and total publications for each faculty were moderately to highly correlated to rankings, while faculty size showed low to moderate correlation. Citations-per-faculty member showed very high correlation (0.98 to 0.99) to all three sources. Because citations-per-faculty member is such a strong driver of the Leiter-Sisk method, a school could game the rankings by buying out or otherwise moving less-cited or unproductive faculty, thereby reducing the number of faculty and increasing citations-per-faculty member. Use of metrics like the h-index, which only takes highly cited papers into account, or other composite metrics would reduce the opportunity for gaming in this manner.
William S. Hein & Co.
Law | Law Librarianship | Legal Education | Scholarly Communication
Beatty, John R., "Citation Sources for Legal Scholarship: Ranking the Top 28 Law Faculties" (2022). Law Librarian Contributions to Books. 5.