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Scholarly Communications & Author's Rights

A guide for Maine Law faculty

It helps to think of impact at four levels - article, journal, author, and law school.

Impact measures citations:

  • court and secondary references to a specific article
  • court and secondary references to all articles in a specific journal
  • court and secondary references to all articles by a specific author (faculty)
  • court and secondary references to all faculty at specific law school

Metrics look at the ratio of citations over time. The field of law generally measures impact over a rolling five year period.

Faculty Impact Factors

Author impact - 

HeinOnline Author Impact Profile (issue: multiple names; proposed for USNWR faculty rankings)

Google Scholar Citations metrics (Author Profiles)

ImpactStory Profile Impact Story is a non-profit that creates software to promote open access scholarship. Their profiles software tracks a researcher's mentions in the news and in social media. Create a profile using your Twitter handle.

 Altmetric includes "evidence of societal engagement, influence and broader impacts... including any recent publications that have not yet had a chance to accrue traditional citations", e.g., twitter, Facebook, reddit, blogs, etc., plus news media, Wikipedia, websites, books, and more.

PlumX (now owned by Elsevier) metrics count five separate categories: citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social media. Also used in bepress Digital Commons.

  • Metrics_Icons_CitationsCitations – traditional citation indexes, as well as citations that help indicate societal impact such as Clinical or Policy Citations.
  • Metrics_Icons_UsageUsage – signals that someone read the article or otherwise used the research. Usage is the number one statistic researchers want to know after citations (e.g., clicks, downloads, views, library holdings, video plays). 
  • Metrics_Icons_CapturesCaptures – shows that someone wants to come back to the work, possibly indicating future citations (e.g., bookmarks, code forks, favorites, readers, watchers )
  • Mentions – measures references to the article in news articles or blog posts. Mentions is a way to tell that people are engaging with the research (e.g., blog posts, comments, reviews, Wikipedia references, news media.
  • Metrics_Icons_SocialMediaSocial media - includes the tweets, Facebook likes, etc. that reference the research; i.e., “buzz” and promotion.

HeinOnline Top 250 Authors

Law School Impact

Law school impact- 

Brian Leiter, then Gregory Sisk, Law Rankings by Faculty Citations ("Faculty Quality")

USNews.com - may be similar to Leiter/Sisk with a five-year window (2014-2018); will add tenure-track faculty and use HeinOnline/Fastcase instead of Westlaw

Journal Impact Factors

Journal impact factor - measures the frequency with which the “average article” in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period; a ratio between citations and recent articles published. Usually the higher the better.  For example, an Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published in a given journal two to five years ago have been cited one time. An Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published in the time period have been cited two and a half times.

Sources:

Washington & Lee Law School's Law Journal Submissions & Ranking

Allen Rostron & Nancy Levit, Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals

Most Cited Journals on HeinOnline

Google Scholar metrics

Bryce C. Newell Meta-Ranking of Flagship US Law Reviews 2018