Professor Jay Brown of the University of Denver Law School (and also RacetotheBottom blog) has been talking at his blog the last couple of days about his new study, "Law Faculty Blogs and Disruptive Innovation: The Data." (Thanks to Paul Caron for point this out.) Long-time followers of the legal academy and blogs may recall that Jay has written before (and here) about who's blogging and what that means. Jay is returning to this subject, in part to see how things have changed and also I think to take a measure of how blogging is becoming commonplace and also how maybe traditional. I think that's the right word. Here is Jay's abstract:
Blogging by law faculty has been going on for more than a decade. During that period, law faculty blogs have become widespread. They have also been increasing used as authority in law review articles and court decisions. The attached paper sets out the empirical data that shows who, as of May/June 2012, is actually blogging at various law schools. This is a notoriously difficult data set to create since there is no single list of law faculty blogs. Moreover, some faculty blog at non-faculty blogs.
The data in this document includes a breakdown of the number of law faculty bloggers by law school. Interestingly, most law faculty bloggers are at law schools outside the top 50 as ranked by US News. In addition, the data includes the number of citations for law blogs in both law reviews and court opinions. One law faculty blog has over 700 citations in law reviews. Another has over 40 citations in cases.
Finally, the data includes a list of US law faculty in the top 200 of SSRN downloads for May 2012. The list includes any blogging affiliation of these faculty. The data shows that for faculty in the list but outside the top 10 law schools (based upon the ranking created by US News) many of them blog, suggesting that there is a correlation between blogging and SSRN downloads.
There are a couple of things that faculty lounge readers will find of great interest. Jay provides a census of law professors bloggers -- it's an interesting companion to Bridget's twitter census. Someone should certainly compare those two lists -- and I'd observe that Jay has a very nice table organized by U.S. News rank of how many people at each school are blogging (which you might be interested in comparing to my re-ranking of Bridget's list of law professor twitterers). He reports that there are 19 bloggers at top 10 schools; 40 at schools ranked 11-25; 49 at schools ranked 26-50; and 90 at schools ranked 51-100. If you take the top 50 schools together there are 108 bloggers. (There's an obvious question abou the number of faculty at those levels; my guess is the higher ranked schools have substantially more faculty than the lower ranked, but I'm not sure of the proportions.) I'd be interested in speculation on the meaning of this.
Jay also provides a table ranking blogs by number of citations in court opinions and in law journals. (One side note here -- many thanks to the readers who've cited discussions here at thefacultylounge.org in your scholarship! I suppose I need to acknowledge that we're not doing as well in citations as we do in readership -- we're ranked in the 40s in terms of citations, but I think in the teens these days on readership.)
What Jay doesn't provide here is a list of how much individual bloggers are cited; and that I think would be a nice point of comparison. One question that I've talked over with both Krawiec and Filler is the problem of trying to figure out how much blogging affects citations. (One not great measure is citations to bloggers vs. citations to non-bloggers on their faculty/on other similarly-ranked faculties in their age/experience range.) I think one reason many people blog is to get increased attention for scholarship that appears in some form other than a blog and I'd be curious to know how much -- if at all -- blogging is helpful in that regard. Who knows, maybe one of these days I need to revise my rather pessimistic view of blogging.