The Top Law Reviews (Eigenfactor)

The latest way to measure scholarly influence is the eigenfactor, a term to describe various algorithms used to quantify aspects of knowledge.  The linked web site enables people to find top lists using assorted measures, including the top law reviews using article influence proxied by citation histories. 

According to this measure, the  following are the top-25 student-edited general interest law reviews published in the United States.   The list looks congruent with my sense of generally accepted understandings among law faculty of law review standings.  At first it may make one wonder whether tools like this are useful because they verify knowledge or useless because they don’t tell us anything new.   But, on second thought, people new to this profession may neither know nor want to ask. 

1. Harvard  Law Review

2. Yale  Law Journal

3.  Stanford Law Review

4. Columbia Law Review

5. NYU Law Review

6. Virginia Law Review

7.  Texas Law Review

8. Michigan Law Review

9.  California Law Review

10.  Penn Law Review

11.  Chicago Law Review

12.  UCLA Law Review

13.  Northwestern Law Review

14.  Duke Law Journal

15.  Minnesota Law Review

16. Cornell Law Review

17.  Georgetown Law Journal

18.  Vanderbilt Law Review

19.  George Washington University Law Review

20. Notre Dame Law Review

21. Iowa Law Review

22. Indiana Law Journal

23.  Illinois Law Review

24. Boston University Law Review

25.  University of Southern California Law Review

Eigenfactor’s linked list also included faculty-edited and subject-limited reviews.  Among those appearing within the top 25 overall were: Journal of Legal Studies (5); Law & Society Review (15);  Harvard International Law Journal (22); and Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (23).  The link also enables using an alternative scoring system, which mostly only slightly reorders the foregoing list, though also adds, bizarrely, periodicals like Fortune and the New Republic, as well as one additional journal, Fordham Law Review.

Update: To find these results at the linked site, select the word Law from the “Eigenfactor subject category” drop-down menu then click search.  These results are for 2008, the latest available today.

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4 Responses

  1. GW Law Review isn't in the top 50 says:

    There is already a website that does this that’s put out by W&L. This list is either poorly compiled or completely ignorant of the citation history used by W&L.

  2. Thank you for the comments. A note on the criteria for including law reviews and journals in the Eigenfactor ranksing: Our rankings our based on the raw data from the Thomson-Reuters Journal Citation Reports (JCR). Therefore we rank only those journals listed in the JCR.

    Scores for the year 2009 scores will be released on the website in December 2010.

    Jevin West,
    Eigenfactor Project

  3. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Jevin: Many thanks. Looking forward to your continued work on this.

  4. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Re Response 1: Perhaps the author is joking, if suggesting that, just because one ranking method exists, no others can exist or be better. Good comments at PrawfsBlawg (to which my post above links) attest to both the appeal and limits of the W&L method, compared to numerous others.

    W&L do a wonderful and useful service, but naturally recognize inherent limits in their methodology. One appealing innovation of eigenfactor is the attempt to refine the pure count of citations (cumulative or average) on which W&L is primiarly based to reflect some of the differences in citation quality.

    This isn’t to say one or the other is better. They may be better or worse in different ways. Indeed, one nice thing about the W&L service is how it can be tailored in a large number of different ways, including at different times in history. (Which prompts adding that, whoever titled Response 1 is also obviously wrong about GW Law Review, whether on the W&L scales, at least in the past two years, or any other reliable sense of which I’m aware.)