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Monday, March 22, 2021

The Future of U.S. News and World Report’s Law School Rankings: A Letter from A Friend (UPDATE)

 

I would definitely recommend that you include your HeinOnline ScholarRank [in your materials]…. [T]he most important thing to know is that each faculty member’s ScholarRank score is like golf. The lower the better. Cass Sunstein is currently at the top with a ScholarRank of #1. The ScholarRank scores go as high as #45,000.

Your ScholarRank score is #4492 …. You’ve been cited 238 times [in the last 12 months] in HeinOnline journals….

And the ScholarRank score is about to become the single most important metric in American legal academia. Starting next year, 40% of each American law school’s U.S. News [and World Report] ranking will be based on HeinOnline’s cumulative ScholarRank of the school’s faculty (which apparently will consist of the combined faculty score divided by the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty). It’s going to have a huge impact on our field. Interestingly, however, most law school faculty (at least in my neck of the woods) seem unaware of ScholarRank.

Interestingly, 20% of the ScholarRank score is based on HeinOnline downloads in the past 12 months. Accordingly, I think ScholarRank is going to kill SSRN, at least as a platform for legal scholarship. People are soon going to realize that posting on SSRN is counterproductive because SSRN downloads don’t count toward a scholar’s ScholarRank score, whereas HeinOnline downloads directly factor into your ScholarRank score.


Seth Barrett Tillman, The Future of U.S. News and Wold Reports Law School Rankings: A Letter from A Friend (UPDATE), New Reform Club (Mar. 22, 2021, 9:44 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-future-of-us-news-and-wold-reports.html>; 

UPDATE: Paul Caron, at Tax Prof Blog, was in contact with U.S. News & World Report. His correspondence indicates that my information above is not correct. 

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