Phi Beta Cons

More on Scholar Obama

Ian Ayres <a href="http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/obama-and-me/-2913″>shares his experience publishing an article in the law-review journal Obama edited. He gives some statistics on how often the journal was cited in other research, and offers, “A look back at these citations suggests that volume 104 was a pretty successful year. Many of the professors have gone on to have highly successful careers and the articles exhibit a diversity of subject matter, methodology, and view point.”

That statement might be true, if subjective, but a Volokh Conspiracy commenter once crunched the numbers from Obama’s year at the journal and compared them to others, concluding, “Obama’s vol. 104 is the least-cited volume of the Harvard Law Review in the last 20 years.”
This is the work of some dude who goes by “LawStatMan,” but I’ve never seen anyone dispute these numbers. If you’re aware of another analysis, or have the tools and time to do one yourself, send me the results at phibetacons[at]nationalreview[dot]com.
UPDATE: Taking LawStatMan’s data at face value (looking closely at it, it didn’t set off any alarm bells), I put together a new spreadsheet that I think presents the data in a more usable manner. There are 14 issues with at least five years of data, and Obama’s comes in second-last. Of the nine with ten years of data — including the issue Obama beat in the five-year citation race — the candidate’s issue comes in dead last. 

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