Topic Towards a methodology for assessing legal journals across countries

By 5 October 2019
Researcher`s institution:
Host institution: Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems - National Research Council (IGSG-CNR) (Italy)
Period of stsm: 10 days from the period of November 2019 to December 2019.
Funds approved:

Publications in social sciences and humanities (SSH) present important differences with respect to publications in other areas; for example, the scope of research (more local), the publication typology (mainly book chapters and monographs), the language (mainly the language of the country of publication) and the habits of collaboration (more single authored publications). These different characteristics require the need to develop specific methodologies for the analysis and evaluation of SSH publications.
In particular, legal science and included disciplines presents the most considerable difficulties for evaluation based on a quantitative approach. In our study we consider ‘legal science’ as the set of disciplines that deal with law: science of law, legal theory, jurisprudence, legal dogmatics, the sociology of law, legal anthropology, comparative law, history of law, etc. The evaluation of research in law and law related disciplines is complex because there are profound differences among them. The evaluation of research in law and law related disciplines is more complex because there are profound differences in the dissemination of research results among them. There is no European ranking of law journals or legal publishers, no generally accepted system of peer review, no bibliometric databases, and no consensus on quality indicators for academic legal publications.
In recent years, European countries have participated in an intense debate on the evaluation of the results of legal research. The discussion tends to focus on the new appeal of law, moving from a national towards a transnational approach, from mono-disciplinarity to multidisciplinarity. All these specific aspects are very relevant for the research that will be carried out in this STSM.
This STSM is addressed to explore methodological approaches for evaluation of legal journals published in three different countries (Italy, Spain and Croatia), in order to find criteria that allow establishing a classification model of national legal journals based on qualitative and quantitative indicators. In this regard, the idea is to continue the work of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) on the evaluation of journals in SSH disciplines. The methodology used by FECYT is based on two dimensions: the analysis of journals’ impacts and the analysis of their visibility. During the STSM mission, we are going to further develop this methodology, including new quantitative and qualitative criteria that show well the specificities of the research reported in the SSH journals of these three counties.
All the mentioned countries are characterized to have a quite good production of law journals and to be the place of lively national debate among legal scholars who have a strong preference for qualitative evaluation methods over quantitative methods.
• To provide an accurate survey of the national legal journals in Italy, Spain and Croatia, as well as their impact and visibility in the international bibliographic databases.
• After literature review on different approaches used for the evaluation of legal journals, to identify at quantitative (citation, visibility, etc.) and qualitative indicators (type of peer review, presence of internal or/and external referees, openness, etc.) for the assessment of legal journals.
• To propose a methodology for assessing national legal journals of the basis of the methods used in three different countries (Italy, Spain and Croatia), capable of being used for national legal journals in other countries.
• To get an insight in the peer review process of the legal journals by a content analysis of the instructions for peer reviewers and other documents describing editorial processes.
Expected Results:
● A new specific methodology to evaluate the national legal journals in different countries.
● In-depth literature survey in order to record all possible indicators and their characteristics
● A review of national practices in the legal science
● An analysis of editorial processes and peer review in the national legal journals
● Design of a possible structure for building a database of scientific papers published in legal journals with particular interests on open access publications.
● Scientific papers published, including research results on comparative analysis of legal journals in Italy, Spain and Croatia, journals’ quality criteria, classification model and peer review process.

Special criteria for this STSM:
The applicant must have knowledge of SSH research in his or her country and ideally possess the following:
● Excellent skills related to bibliometric research with particular interest in evaluation of legal outputs;
● Good knowledge in SSH scholarly publishing;
● High interdisciplinary approach.

Practical details:
Duration and timing: 10 days from the period of November 2019 to December 2019.
Location: Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems – National Research Council (IGSG-CNR) Via de’ Barucci 20, 50127 Firenze, Italy
Contact: Ginevra Peruginelli (