Assessing the Impact of Legal Publications Building a Legal Citation Index using Automatic Reference Analysis
In many fields of science, 'impact factors' are assigned to articles, authors and magazines as a matter of routine. Databases containing abstracts and citations of scientific publications are available to facilitate this. However, in the Netherlands this is not the case for publications in the field of Law. For several reasons, these publications are not generally 'ranked' according to their importance and/or 'impact' and citations from these publications are not compiled and/or processed systematically.
The need to change this situation is generally felt. One reason is that important publications can be more easily found in the ever increasing amount of digital data available to researchers when information relating to their impact is available. Another reason is that universities and research institutes need tools to assess the work of their employees. But the construction of a legal citation index from scratch is no small task.
The project described in this paper aims at contributing to a more effective impact measurement of Dutch legal publications - for instance, articles in journals - by facilitating the automatic collection of citation data from publications. This is accomplished by making use of so-called content integration technology.
Using the collected citation data, it is possible to assess the 'impact' of the publications involved much more reliably.