I recently uploaded a couple of forthcoming  articles to SSRN (see: https://ssrn.com/author=1544651). Part of the upload process is selecting the relevant “e-journals” you think the article belongs in. As I was doing so, I wondered how much of a difference it really makes. Like, does submitting to more journals lead to more downloads?

To satisfy my curiosity I did a bit of SSRN/LSN hacking, and determined that not only does the number of journals matter (i.e. more journals = more downloads), but there are some pretty major differences in the average number of downloads different LSN journals get. The below relies on data from just under a quarter million papers that are classified to LSN e-journals, and only extends to LSN classifications (i.e. working paper series or other SSRN e-journal classifications are not included).

The average article is assigned to 3.7 LSN e-journals. The figure below shows a pretty clear increase in the mean (log) number of downloads we observe as the number of journal classifications increases. The relationship gets messy at the end as the sample size shrinks dramatically above 12 classifications (which honestly seems like a ton).

Estimated mean downloads by number of e-journals an article is classified to.

 

boxplots showing the increase in log downloads as number of e-journals increases

Distribution of downloads by number of e-journal classifications.

 

Playing around with the data not only showed that more classifications is related with more downloads, but also that more classifications will help you avoid getting zero-downloads. I cut-off the data in the below chart to papers with 12 or fewer classifications because the sample size gets too small after that.

 

Probability of receiving zero downloads.

Probability of receiving zero downloads.

 

Finally I calculated average downloads per article within e-journals. This to me is more interesting than the (obvious, but nice to have measured) relationship described above, because it shows clear differences in the audience sizes for different sub-disciplines. The takeaway: if you’re writing about Agricultural Law don’t be surprised if your colleagues who write about Corporate Law get 8 times the downloads you do.

 

e-Journal Downloads Rank
SSRN Corporate, Securities & Finance Law eJournals 438.35 1
SSRN Cyberspace Law eJournal 392.43 2
SSRN Law & Economics eJournal 373.61 3
SSRN Artificial Intelligence – Law, Policy, & Ethics eJournal 366.14 4
SSRN Regulation of Financial Institutions eJournal 354.90 5
SSRN Young Scholars Law eJournal 346.28 6
SSRN Experimental & Empirical Studies eJournals 338.70 7
SSRN Information Privacy Law eJournal 312.02 8
SSRN Fiduciary Law eJournal 293.78 9
SSRN Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors eJournal 292.77 10
SSRN Law, Norms & Informal Order eJournal 286.82 11
SSRN Law & Psychology eJournal 266.12 12
SSRN Law & Humanities eJournal 259.16 13
SSRN Comparative Law eJournal 258.61 14
SSRN Law, Institutions & Development eJournal 257.01 15
SSRN Intellectual Property Law eJournals 255.51 16
SSRN Property, Citizenship, & Social Entrepreneurism eJournal 254.95 17
SSRN Law & Positive Political Theory eJournal 254.52 18
SSRN Legal Writing eJournal 253.65 19
SSRN Consumer Law eJournal 251.80 20
SSRN Antitrust & Regulated Industries eJournals 248.74 21
SSRN Law, Brain & Behavior eJournals 247.80 22
SSRN Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal 245.98 23
SSRN National Security & Foreign Relations Law eJournal 232.73 24
SSRN Risk, Regulation, & Policy eJournal 231.76 25
SSRN Legal Education eJournal 230.84 26
SSRN Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching eJournal 226.58 27
SSRN Islamic Law & Law of the Muslim World eJournal 224.33 28
SSRN Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence & Legal Philosophy eJournals 217.04 29
SSRN India Law eJournal 214.88 30
SSRN Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility eJournal 213.50 31
SSRN Torts & Products Liability Law eJournal 212.36 32
SSRN Legal History eJournal 211.44 33
SSRN LSN Subject Matter eJournals 211.18 34
SSRN Forensic Economics eJournal 210.72 35
SSRN Law, Policy & Economics of Technical Standards eJournal 208.86 36
SSRN Legal Information & Technology eJournal 206.99 37
SSRN Law & Literature eJournal 205.24 38
SSRN Criminal Law & Procedure eJournals 204.10 39
SSRN Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal 203.87 40
SSRN International Law & Trade eJournals 202.25 41
SSRN Administrative Law eJournals 200.82 42
SSRN Human Rights & the Global Economy eJournal 199.50 43
SSRN Legislation & Statutory Interpretation eJournal 198.09 44
SSRN European Private & Public Law eJournals 196.19 45
SSRN Nonprofit & Philanthropy Law eJournal 195.90 46
SSRN Employment, Labor, Compensation & Pension Law eJournals 193.06 47
SSRN Litigation, Procedure & Dispute Resolution eJournals 192.98 48
SSRN Law, Politics & the Media eJournal 190.64 49
SSRN Evidence & Evidentiary Procedure eJournal 187.81 50
SSRN Sexuality & the Law eJournal 186.11 51
SSRN Law & Politics eJournal 185.50 52
SSRN Housing & Community Development Law eJournal 185.39 53
SSRN Tax Law & Policy eJournals 184.76 54
SSRN Property, Land Use & Real Estate Law eJournal 180.30 55
SSRN Law & Culture eJournal 178.77 56
SSRN Law & Rhetoric eJournal 176.67 57
SSRN Remedies eJournal 173.83 58
SSRN Discrimination, Law & Justice eJournal 173.76 59
SSRN Law & Courts eJournal 171.51 60
SSRN Federal Courts & Jurisdiction eJournal 168.69 61
SSRN Asian Law eJournal 168.32 62
SSRN Cyberspace Law – Student Authors eJournal 167.27 63
SSRN Environmental & Natural Resources Law eJournals 166.43 64
SSRN Women, Gender & the Law eJournal 166.17 65
SSRN Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal 165.87 66
SSRN Insurance Law, Legislation, & Policy eJournal 161.13 67
SSRN Law & Society eJournals 159.17 68
SSRN Biology & Law eJournal 156.02 69
SSRN Health Law eJournals 155.45 70
SSRN Family & Children’s Law eJournal 153.79 71
SSRN Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Law eJournal 152.81 72
SSRN Democratization: Building States & Democratic Processes eJournal 150.31 73
SSRN Elder Law Studies eJournal 150.20 74
SSRN Clinical Law Teaching & Practice eJournal 146.60 75
SSRN English & Commonwealth Law eJournal 146.57 76
SSRN Law & Religion eJournal 144.78 77
SSRN Disability Law eJournal 138.84 78
SSRN Food Law & Policy eJournal 136.25 79
SSRN Animal Law eJournal 135.60 80
SSRN Indigenous Nations & Peoples Law eJournal 134.73 81
SSRN Canadian Law eJournal 133.74 82
SSRN Education Law eJournal 133.48 83
SSRN Cybersecurity, Data Privacy & eDiscovery Law & Policy eJournal 131.32 84
SSRN Sustainability Law & Policy eJournal 129.75 85
SSRN State & Local Government eJournal 129.20 86
SSRN Transitional Justice eJournal 128.94 87
SSRN Women, Law, & Human Rights eJournal 127.53 88
SSRN Protected Lands Law & Policy eJournal 127.51 89
SSRN Reproductive Justice, Law & Policy eJournal 113.82 90
SSRN Transnational Litigation/Arbitration, Private International Law, & Conflict of Laws eJournal 99.18 91
SSRN African Law eJournal 82.21 92
SSRN Law & Psychology (Editor’s Choice) eJournal 63.00 93
SSRN Agricultural Law & Policy eJournal 53.48 94