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NYT Examines SSRN & Scholarly Rankings

Earlier this month, the New York Times ran an interesting article about how SSRN rankings have affected legal academia.

Social Science Research Network [is] an increasingly influential site that now offers nearly 150,000 full-text documents for downloading... the texts include pensées, abstracts, informal arguments, outlines, rough drafts and working papers, up to the finished products you might find in academic journals. So far, more than 550,000 users have registered to download documents.

And with a precision common to the digital age, its rankings of downloads can be sliced and diced in many ways with only a click: most downloads over all or most downloads in the last 12 months, either by article, by author or by institution.

The network was not created to be a Top 40 list for academics, said Michael C. Jensen, its chairman and one of its founders, but it has turned out that way.