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Submitting Papers to Law Journals: Journal Rankings

This guide is intended to help law faculty navigate the process of submitting papers to law journals

Introduction

While it is difficult to translate journal quality to quantitative metrics, journal rankings are one means to navigate the increasingly diverse range of scholarly publications. When deciding where to submit your work, you may first wish to review the methodologies for several rankings and consult those which align best with your own priorities, which may shift at various points in your career.

Citation-Based Rankings

Washington & Lee's Law Journal Rankings -- This ranking is based on Westlaw citation data for the previous eight years and is updated annually by the Law Library at the Washington & Lee Law School. The list of more than 1,500 journals allows users to sort by the total number of journal or case citations, impact factor, or a combined score. It generally excludes bar journals, magazines, and newsletters, as well as law journals that primarily publish in languages other than English. The impact of law journals that are heavily cited by scholars in other disciplines may not be accurately represented by this list, given its reliance on Westlaw citation data. Visit the About and Methodology pages for more information. 

Google Scholar Metrics Top Publications -- This list is updated annually and includes the 20 law journals with the highest h-index values based on citation data in Google Scholar. While Google Scholar data is generally more comprehensive than that of proprietary databases, its inclusion of working papers and other gray literature often results in higher citation counts than other platforms. More information about the metrics and coverage is available on the Google Scholar website.

HeinOnline's Law Journals - Most Cited (login required) -- This list of the 100 most cited law journals in HeinOnline is updated monthly and relies on a Bluebook citation analysis of all titles available through the platform. As with Washington & Lee's ranking, this list may not accurately represent the impact of law journals that are heavily cited by scholars in other disciplines due to its reliance on HeinOnline citation data. 

InCites Journal Citation Reports (login required) -- This list ranks approximately 150 law journals by Journal Impact Factor, based on Web of Science citation data. It also includes journal Eigenfactor scores. Note that citation counts in Web of Science may be lower than those in databases more specific to law.

Scimago Journal & Country Rank (login required) -- Powered by Scopus, this list ranks 602 journals related to legal subject areas based on their SJR indicator, which accounts for the number of times a journal has been cited over a certain period as well as the prestige of those journals in which the ranked journal was cited. Note that citation counts in Scopus may be lower than those in databases more specific to law.

Online Rankings -- University of Illinois Law Review Online maintains a list of all online law reviews ranked by Westlaw citations-per-article. The ranking also includes journal impact factors and U.S. News rankings.

Law School Ranking

U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings -- This ranking is updated annually by TaxProf Blog and is based on U.S. News peer assessment scores, which account for 25% of a law school's overall U.S. News ranking. According to the U.S. News methodology, the peer assessment scores are derived from a survey of law school administrators and recently tenured faculty members. While these scores can be helpful to determine the perceived academic reputation of a given law school, the scores may not accurately reflect an associated journal's reputation.

Compiled Rankings

Meta-Ranking of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews -- The most recent version of this ranking is available on Professor Bryce Clayton Newell's website, and it includes 195 law reviews. In addition to the "MetaRank" for each journal, the table also displays Washington & Lee and Google Scholar rankings. Previous versions of the ranking are available on Newell's website (Spring 2018) and PrawfBlawg (2016).

Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals by professors Allen Rostron and Nancy Levit includes a chart summary of rankings from U.S. News & World Report and Washington & Lee as well as impact factor data for the general law reviews of over 200 law schools. It does not include topical law journals.

FAQs

What is the Impact Factor?

According to Clarivate Analytics, which publishes the Journal Citation Reports, the IF "is a measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period," calculated by dividing the number of citations by the number of articles published over a given period.

What is the h-index?

At the journal level, an h-index of h signifies that the journal has published h articles that have been cited at least h times. For example, a journal with an h-index of 45 has published 45 articles that have been cited at least 45 times.

Questions?

If you have any questions or would like additional information about the resources discussed in this guide, please contact Jessica Pasquale at hanesjl@umich.edu.