To rank well in most legal scholarship ranking systems which count “all-time citations,” scholars must have thirty to forty years of nearly continuous scholarly output. This leads to an undercounting of women and other time-limited groups and prevents existing rankings from surfacing the current top scholars according to Rob Willey, Melanie Knapp, and Ashley Matthews from George Mason University Law Library.
They have designed A New Inclusive Scholar Rank that includes more women as well as newer scholars and non-traditional scholars, such as practitioners. This rank is run by counting citations to law journal articles in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library by limiting to articles written in a recent, three-year period of time.
Also unlike many other legal scholarship ranking systems, their ranking focuses on individual legal scholars rather than collective faculty from select schools, opening inclusion to anyone anywhere who is publishing in a U.S. law journal.
The authors acknowledge that, like other rankings, theirs is not perfect as the HeinOnline law journal data omits scholars publishing books or articles in non-law journals.
I found the ranking to be transparent, thoughtful, and fair. As I’ve stated in my own scholarship and prior blog posts, I have a problem with rankings that use data that can’t possibly measure what they claim to be ranking. That was my big concern with the proposed US News scholarly impact rankings’ use of HeinOnline law reviews.