Thursday, January 11, 2007

How Petty is a "Citation Record"?

This is a question for all, but especially my First Movers brothers and sisters and other wannabe prawfs. I'm curious how, and if at all, to play-up a citation record when on the meat market and in other similar professional situations. If you had a student note that was randomly cited in a stringsite in the West Wyoming A&M Review of Sports Law it seems a bit petty, and in fact detracts from an application, to point it out. However, if you've had a couple notes/articles that were cited in "more respectable" publications, and in more than a passing manner (such as mentioning you in the text of the article), then perhaps it might be worth highlighting this fact.

If it is worth highlighting, I wonder how to do so. A long sentence in a cover letter stating "My future stardom as a big-shot Law Professor is evidenced by the numerous citations to my work"? Or maybe a section in a resume? Or maybe as part of the Publications section, with, e.g., "Why We Must Federalize Sheep Herding Law, J. L. & Livestock (2007) (cited 5 times)." I suppose this is something one could save for an interview, but "small stuff" like this is what you're supposed to use to get the interview in the first place.

I'm interested what y'all have to say, including whether I need to stop thinking about minutia like this.

4 Comments:

Blogger Anthony Ciolli said...

This is something I've struggled with in the past. A month or so after I posted a draft of my first paper on AutoAdmit, I had the good fortune to have that draft cited in an article by Judge Posner, before I even had a publication offer for the piece. This same issue came up again a few months later when another paper I wrote ended up getting a relatively high SSRN ranking in its field.

I currently handle both these situations by making a very small notation after listing the article on my CV (email me if you want to see how I've done it). I don't list total # of citations, SSRN downloads, or anything like that for any particular piece -- just the "special" stuff. I think that avoids a lot of potential issues that could come up in the future ("What, your article *only* got 5 cites? And why hasn't that essay been cited by anyone yet?"), since it's clear you're only trying to get people to take notice of unusual or exceptional events rather than providing general statistics or information about your work.

One question of my own: When submitting to law reviews, should I provide brief parenthetical summaries of what your previous publications and works in progress are about on my CV? I've been doing this for the past couple of cycles, but I haven't heard about anyone else doing it, so I'm not sure if I should continue the practice.

1/11/2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger Nancy Rapoport said...

My theory -- for interviews and for promotion & tenure dossiers -- is that you should refer somewhere to sources that relied on your work. (In your dossier, you should also list each time someone mentions your work, just in case--remember, you're being compared w/people in other disciplines, and you want to make the best case for P&T.) But I don't know if I'm an outlier in this approach. I don't do much of those sorts of mentions now, but I'm at a much different career stage than someone starting out, and I found that it WAS useful when I was going through the P&T process.

1/12/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Nancy Rapoport said...

I think it's perfectly appropriate to mention cites that rely on your work, and to mention ALL cites when you're doing your P&T dossier(s). As you become more senior, you get to pick and choose what to mention (or you end up w/CVs longer than some books); for now, though, you want to establish that you're becoming an expert in your field, and the fact that someone is using your work is important.

Anthony, I really like your question, too, and I used to put that type of description in my cover letters--and I'd enclose a copy of my CV as well.

1/12/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, when I submit articles to law reviews, I include a cover letter explaining why I'm qualified to be writing on the topic.

So, for instance, if I'm writing on intellectual property, I might write, I have 3 years experience litigating ip cases and have written article x and article y, each dealing with ip law.

Of course, it tends to be more specific than that. I've never heard of including article summaries on a cv, though, but it sounds like a decent idea.

1/12/2007 10:33 AM  

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