A recent analysis by researchers at the Harvard Law School found that Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Founding Chair of the George Washington University Department of Health Policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, is one of the nation’s top 10 most-cited health law scholars.
I. Glenn Cohen, Mark A. Hall and David M. Studdert of the Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics actually compiled two lists of health scholars. The first list is based on citations in WestLaw’s highly regarded Journal and Law Review database between 2013-2017 for full-time tenured law professors currently active at 99 ABA-accredited law schools. Rosenbaum was the 10th most highly cited health scholar on that list, up from her ranking of 15th in a list that the same group published in 2017 based on data from 2010-2014.
In the second list, which was compiled by gathering citation counts from the Web of Science from the same period, Rosenbaum was the sixth most-cited health law scholar.
To explain why they conducted two searches, Cohen, Hall and Studdert say that “health law is a broad and fundamentally interdisciplinary field that spans bioethics, biotechnology, medical malpractice, health care finance and regulation, health policy, and public health. The Westlaw citation search partially accounted for this breadth by including leading health law scholars in schools of public health and medicine. However, two major limitations remain—both especially important in our field—which prompted this additional citation analysis.” One of the limitations is that the Westlaw search fails to account for citations in publications that fall outside its law-focused database, which excludes most medical, social science, and public policy journals.
Cohen, Hall and Studdert say that they decided to gather citations counts from the Web of Science because it covers more than 20,000 journals in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities, as well as including more than 90,000 books. “Thus, it is likely to be a more accurate and meaningful source than Westlaw for measuring scholarly impact beyond the legal academy,” the compilers say. By including all of a publication’s authors, the citation counts in Web of Science also overcomes the “ghost author” issue that arises in Westlaw searches, as a result of citation conventions in legal periodicals.