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It's a busy time of year - but the bathroom does look lovely!
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2012 on Summer Procrastination Fails at The Faculty Lounge
I tend to agree with Ralph's second observation above, namely that the nature of the citation matters perhaps more than simply its existence in the paper's notes. (I am reminded of a similar phenomenon in case law, where certain cases are repeatedly cited for a clear framing of a black-letter principle rather than the facts and specific analysis of the case itself - raising their profiles among those who look at Lexis/Westlaw citation records but missing the real impact the case ruling had on subsequent courts.) It would be a huge (perhaps even prohibitively so) undertaking to read through the hundreds of articles each publishing cycle and manage the cross-references to the original work. As a gut feeling, it seems the "fair" option - though of course fair doesn't always count for much when it comes to the practicalities. I'd be interested to hear how others feel about handling speciality law review journals. While perhaps not as prominent in the general scholarly community, articles in these publications may have tremendous influence in their area even without a high number of citations as compared to a piece published in a general journal. Should these journals be somehow separately ranked? Likely there are often not enough in each speciality to make ranking as much of an issue, but the question still remains as an author: how to handle submission offers? If one is fortunate enough to get an offer of publication from a speciality journal as well as one from a mid-ranked general journal, what would be the strategic calculus? Citations alone might be hard to use as a benchmark of prestige for the journal - or the level of the influence of the author. Thoughts? Finally, might there also be a danger of a feedback loop when it comes to ranking journals? Elite journals receive and publish work from the most regarded scholars in the field, in turn raising their citation statistics and reinforcing their elite status, which brings back those same scholars to start the loop again. If we rely on cite counts, unless a journal is already in the Top 10 or 20 (say) it seems to face huge hurdles to break through its current tier by getting the necessary citations.
As an aspiring law prof, I'm glad to read others' reactions to the Yale law Ph.D news. It's a departure from the world of VAPs, fellowships, etc. - and one that I'm sincerely trying to understand and learn more about. As an initial reaction, I wonder how the program compares with VAPs and the Bigelow as far as providing a collegial footing with tenure-track law professors (in terms of teaching, publishing, and overall engagement with the academic life of the institution) as compared to the more student-oriented mindset - a perhaps important question for those entering the academy and presenting themselves as one who can move smoothly into that world with a short ramp-up time. This may be something that will become clearer as details about the program are revealed. It is also interesting to consider the impact on traditional hiring mindsets when, from what I understand, a primary concern is delving into the publishing/scholarship realm. Will there be a positive/negative response to a candidate who spent time working on methodology and examinations? It may be that there is room for a shift in expectations as the program becomes more established. It may also be that institutions ask more questions as to how the candidate spent that time and the value that he or she believes it added. I don't have the answers - and can't speculate - but I am very curious to learn more about the Yale degree over the coming months to see how it impacts me and other young scholars in my position.
I'd add in the four professors who gave their takes in NPR's article Legal Scholars React: 'Many People Were Stunned' at Richard Garnett Erwin Chemerinsky Jamal Greene Neil Siegel Also commenting in the same article were scholars Ilya Shapiro from the Cato Institute and Robert Alt from the Heritage Foundation.
From entirely different ends of the spectrum, but I'm enjoying them: "Forgotten Bookmarks - A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages" by Michael Popek and "Gardens of the Moon" by Steven Erikson (fantasy). Your description of "The Scorpio Races" has me intrigued, I'll have to take a look when I head to the local library.
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Jun 9, 2012