SSRN as a Measure of Scholarly Performance: Paul Caron and Bernard Black have just posted their paper on using SSRN downloads to measure the scholarly performance of law faculties. I am very skeptical about using SSRN to measure performance, whether of individual faculty members or faculties as a whole. Still, the paper has lots of very interesting tidbits for SSRN followers out there. Among them is this interesting insight into the possible future of SSRN:
  . . . SSRN already requires users to login before downloading a paper for ip addresses from which it has found a pattern of multiple downloads of the same paper. SSRN is likely to require users generally to login before downloading papers in the not too distant future. This should substantially limit the gaming potential that now exists.
  Required login can also respond to other limitations of the downloads measure. It will permit development of more refined measures of a paper's scholarly value. For example, downloads could be weighted, based on a metric of the quality downloader. Faculty downloads could be given greater weight than student downloads, for example.
  Anyway, everyone should now go to SSRN to download Paul and Bernard's paper, which will help boost their numbers and help out U Texas and Cincinnati in the rankings.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Gaming SSRN Downloads:
  2. SSRN as a Measure of Scholarly Performance:
Gaming SSRN Downloads: There has been a lot of debate recently among lawprofs about whether SSRN downloads are a useful gauge of scholarly influence or quality. I'm pretty skeptical about using SSRN that way, and the following e-mail is an interesting illustration of the problem. A young lawyer who just sent out an article for publication to law reviews also sent out the following e-mail to a list of friends asking for their help in getting the article placed:

From: [Redacted]
Date: August 17, 2005 6:05:34 PM EDT
To: [Redacted]
Subject: Buzz!! (Shameless Self-Promotion)


I'm trying to create some buzz for a law article I've just posted on the SSRN (Social Science Research Network). Could you please please download the article? The more hits there are, the more likely the piece is to get picked up by a good journal. Of course I'd love it if you also read the article - but that's up to you.

Three easy steps:

click on this link:[Redacted]
click "Go to Document Delivery"
click "SSRN"

You should do this because (1) it would mean a lot to me, and (2) there are free door prizes for the first 50 people who click that link.

  The idea, I suppose, is that law review editors might check SSRN to see how many downloads the paper has. If a paper has lots of downloads, editors will assume it is getting lots of attention and perhaps is more worth publishing. I would hope editors can see through this, but you never know. Anyway, caveat editor.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Gaming SSRN Downloads:
  2. SSRN as a Measure of Scholarly Performance: