Evaluating Academic Legal Research in Europe
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Evaluating Academic Legal Research in Europe

The Advantage of Lagging Behind

Edited by Rob van Gestel and Andreas Lienhard

Legal academics in Europe publish a wide variety of materials including books, articles and essays, in an assortment of languages, and for a diverse readership. As a consequence, this variety can pose a problem for the evaluation of academic legal research. This thought-provoking book offers an overview of the legal and policy norms, methods and criteria applied in the evaluation of academic legal research, from a comparative perspective.
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Chapter 4: Evaluation of academic legal publications in Germany

Kai Purnhagen and Niels Petersen


If legal scholarship is lagging behind other disciplines in using more objective evaluation standards for assessing the quality of legal research, Germany is definitely not at the forefront of closing the gap. Skepticism towards seemingly more objective assessment methods is more widely shared than in other European countries. There is no state-sponsored performance evaluation exercise of law schools on the federal level; peer-review of manuscripts for the acceptance in journals or monograph series is rare; and the use of journal rankings, citation analysis or other bibliometric tools is almost non-existent. Doctoral and postdoctoral (habilitation) theses are usually evaluated inside the faculty without external review. The quality standards that do exist mostly refer to the substantive evaluation of individual pieces of scholarship. However, they are rather vague and subject to diverging interpretations.

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