A Different Law Review Metric: Cost Per Citation

My colleague Al Brophy has long been interested in the impact of law reviews, as assessed in terms of citations. He’s even written a paper on the issue, evaluating the relationship between law review citations and law review reputation. Law librarians, however, may be interested in a slightly different metric: the value of law reviews, calculated in cost per citation. John Doyle, at Washington and Lee, has produced a great (i.e., fun) webpage that offers up this budget-based evaluation of law reviews. Here we learn that the Yale Journal offers a library a whopping 12.63 citations for every dollar spent on the journal, while Columbia comes in at 11.45 cites to the buck. The Alabama Law Review is priced quite moderately at 4.08 cites per dollar. We discover that librarians comfortable making decisions on this basis should shut down the specialty journal subscriptions. The De Paul Journal of Sports Law and Contemporary Problems (which, based on its title, is perhaps the least specialized of all secondary journals) provides a scant .06 cites on the dollar. For the frugal librarian who tires of running this long list of numbers, Doyle provides free advice: plug in your total periodical budget, and the site gives you a subscription list. Got $2500 to spend on journals? Splurge on the Brooklyn Law Review, but cancel the GW Law Review.

All this sounds to me like a case for Hein Online.

UPDATE: Professor Brophy has recently posted a second paper on these citations issues here.

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