Evaluation of academic legal publications in Germany

K. Purnhagen, Niels Petersen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Legal research has a longstanding and proud tradition in Germany. German academia has always had assessment procedures in place to ensure the quality of legal research and teaching. However, there has been little study of legal research evaluation itself, its effectiveness and ‘fit[ness] for purpose’. A general evaluation of the state of legal scholarship in Germany has been conducted by the Wissenschaftsrat: a group of scientists and politicians which advises the German federal government and the state (Länder) governments on the structure and development of higher education and research. In 2012 the Wissenschaftsrat published a widely discussed analysis of legal scholarship in Germany, which also reflected on the evaluation of the quality of legal research in Germany. In response to this analysis, a number of publications have developed a specific vision of what legal research in Germany is and what it should look like. However, there is still very little discussion in German legal academia on what constitutes good legal research. As a consequence, unfortunately, little data exists on which to base this chapter. The most comprehensive evaluation is still the 2012 publication of the Wissenschaftsrat and publicly available official statistics on the matter. In light of this research gap, the analysis in this chapter is based mainly on these publications, as well as anecdotal evidence acquired from the authors’ own experiences and confidential open interviews with colleagues working at German universities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvaluating academic legal research in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationthe advantage of lagging behind
EditorsRob van Gestel, Andreas Lienhard
PublisherEdward Elgar
ISBN (Electronic)9781788115506
ISBN (Print)9781788115490
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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