U.S. News & World Report is now analyzing the scholarly impact of law faculties. The major law school rankings publisher is partnering with HeinOnline to aggregate the faculties’ citations and publications for the past five years. HeinOnline maintains a database of over 2,600 legal journals.
Initially, this will not factor into the law school rankings algorithm. Instead, it will be published as a separate ranking later this year.
Scholarly impact is a worthwhile rankings factor. We are unclear on the exact algorithm that will drive the scholarly impact quantification. Of course we would understand if US News wanted to keep it a bit shrouded to prevent potential gaming. We would hope that publications in more prestigious journals receive a higher weighting than those with lower publication thresholds. Additionally, we hope this potential rankings factor doesn’t lead to the increased citing of other faculty at the same school.