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Scholarly Communications at WVU Law


Measuring Scholarly Impact

Measuring scholarly impact is a multi-faceted process of collecting and monitoring metrics such as download volume, frequency of citation, and the nature and purpose citations.  The Law Library collects data on these points on a quarterly basis.  Informed scholarly impact analysis relies on data gathered from multiple sources.  The Law Library gathers data from the following: SSRN, HeinOnline, Digital Commons institutional repository, Google Scholar, and Westlaw databases for journals and law reviews, cases, and briefs.  More information and general search methodology for each data source is described below.

For a detailed discussion of how adoption of scholarship profiles on various platforms impacts citation metrics, see Caroline L Osborne and Stephanie C. Miller, The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work, 29 Legal Reference Services Q. 283 (2020)


Quarterly reports are available to individual faculty members at the College of Law.  Individual scholar impact reports consist of cumulative citation and download counts as well as a bibliography of citing documents.  Please contact Stephanie Miller at to receive quarterly reports by email. 


SSRN logo

SSRN Downloads and SSRN Papers totals are retrieved from each faculty member's SSRN profile page. Not all faculty participate in SSRN and the amount of content uploaded for each faculty member varies.

HeinOnline displays citation counts with each article hosted in its collections. HeinOnline counts citations to any publication across all content in the HeinOnline libraries. Each faculty member's publications are retrieved in a search by author in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library and with individual author's scholar profiles. HeinOnline only counts citations within other HeinOnline content, therefore necessitating data collection from other sources in addition to HeinOnline. The total number of publications for each author in the Law Journal Library is also recorded.


Bepress is the platform that hosts our Digital Commons institutional repository.  We are continually adding new faculty scholarship to this archive.  The number of downloads from Bepress platforms is retrieved from administrative reports on the Digital Commons Dashboard.  Authors receive monthy reports by email directly from bepress which may or may not be integrated into these metrics depending on the timing of our data retrieval. 


Publish or Perish (PoP) is a software program integrating Google Scholar to retrieve citation counts. PoP counts citations to any individual item across all content on the web indexed by Google Scholar. Each faculty member's publications are retrieved via PoP by a search for the author's name. Google Scholar covers a vast amount of content, and citation counts reflect the greater variety of content indexed beyond traditional journals to include books, book chapters, news items, etc. PoP search results tend to be over-inclusive and include a number of false hits or duplicates. This requires careful screening of search results for the highest accuracy possible. The total citations per author are recorded as well as the total publications. Variations from quarter to quarter are possible based on changes in content indexed by Google or changes in Google's search algorithms.


Citations in content on Westlaw are retrieved from the following databases: Law Reviews & Journals, Cases, and Briefs.  A search for each faculty member by name in the following formats is performed: First Name /2 Last Name; "First MI Last" or "First Last". The search is conducted in the "text" field to eliminate results that name the author in the author field only. Results are screened to eliminate false hits, for example, where faculty are mentioned in thanks rather than by citation to their scholarship.  Self-citations are also excluded.  Westlaw searches are updated quarterly with the following search: advanced: ((first name /2 last name)) & AD(aft 12-31-2018) where "AD" is a field search for the date an item is added to Westlaw and the date field is the date of the last impact report.