Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How NOT to be an "objectively" top-ranked tax law professor

Evidently, one way to lower your ranking is to write books, which in recent years I have found myself doing most of the time. Books can't get downloaded on SSRN. Thus, if you spend your time writing them, you do yourself no favors on the frequently published personal or institutional SSRN download rankings, such as this one that appeared today.

Not whining, just noting it.

I could easily write an article on how the incentive to get downloaded has bad effects on topic choice and the approach taken in scholarly articles. But would it get downloaded enough to be worth the effort?


Andrew said...

Interesting post. Although it's one of the few available quantitative measures for academic articles, it is amazing how much weight is accorded relatively low (and potentially game-able) numbers such as download counts.

Then again, there are secondary benefits of writing books- I imagine that one gets far broader exposure in the non-tax law professor community from writing books than writing law review articles.

Eg- Graetz's book seems to have received more non-academic attention than all of his considerable previous works combined.

Daniel Shaviro said...

Count me as hoping for the same secondary benefits.

michael a. livingston said...

Three suggestions:

1. Write an article with a provocative title like "Why Downloads Suck" and watch everyone download it

2. Start putting more pictures of your kids, pets, garden, and so forth on your blog and be the next Ann Althouse

3. Market your new novel, retire from teaching, and let everyone else *&#!% themsleves

Let me know which you choose!