Application of Bradford's Law of Scattering to the Discipline of Law: Analysis of Doctoral Theses Citations Submitted by Universities in India.

Author:Nishavathi, E.

    Revolution in information and communication technology has resulted in changing the landscape of legal literature, emerging new fields of law, reporting channels, media and finding tools and search aids. This leads to an ever growing increase in the corpus of the legal literature. Law journals are inevitable in legal literature. Jurists, law professionals, Legal research scholar mostly use the law reports because it contains judicial opinions that are legally binding under the rule of stare devises. Articles in legal journals also form a source of reference to legal practitioner, students, and to judges and may provide information on subjects which are too new or too specialized. Articles will be a continuous source of reference over a longer period than other materials. Articles in legal journals have also been accepted by judges on several occasions because of their accuracy. In the fields of law there are a good number of journals published by commercial organizations, academic and professional bodies.

    Generally legal journals are categorized as:

  2. Academic journals : which will covers articles only

  3. Law Reports: which will cover only the full text of case laws

  4. Hybrid: This cover both articles and case laws. Some among them also cover statutory materials such as acts, amendments, rules, etc

  5. Legislative materials: This includes acts, rules, notifications etc.

    The 21st century moved forward, the difficulty of providing access to all of the intellectual materials necessary to sustain a vibrant law library become increasingly clear. The scope of legal publishing exploded and law libraries were expected to keep carried with all contemporary development within a limited funds. In this circumstance, bibliometric approaches that examine the citations found in dissertations and journal articles will help the librarian to identify the core journals, to understand the information use pattern of researcher, and to determine the information behavior of researchers. Hence this study focuses on identifying the core law journals by applying the Bradford's law of scattering in the disciplines of Law.


    There are various aspects of literature available for Bradford's law analysis of scattering. Since its proclamation the law analyzed, retested, redefined, interpreted, compared, proposed and contributed various models for scattering. It created corpus of literature. There are two approaches; verbal and graphical have been recognized in analyzing the law. Some of the notable analyses of verbal formulation of the law are propound by Leimkuhler, Goffman and Warren. The graphical representation of the law is analyzed by Kendall, Cole and Brooks. There are enormous literatures available on application of Bradford's law of scattering. Noteworthy studies are by Sengupta who prepared rank list of journals in the fields of medicine, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, Maheswarapa and Prakash (1982) tested Bradford's law on botanical literature. ArjunLal and Panda tested the applicability of two approaches of Bradford's law of scattering on the data collected from 20 doctoral theses submitted to the Regendra Agricultural University, Bihar in the subject of plant pathology during 1980-1993. Pillai (2007) studied Bradford's Law on 11412 citations appeared in 71 doctoral theses awarded by Indian Institute of Science during 1999-2003. Dhanamjaya, Talawar. Mulla and Chowdappa (2011) analyzed 17151 citations in 137 doctoral theses in engineering and technology awarded in universities of Karnataka during 1961 to 2008. Joginder Singh Burman, Sheela (2011) prepared rank list of journals by analyzing 3052 citations from 33 dissertations available in Campus Law Centre Library, University of Delhi.

    The above studies confirm the applicability of Bradford's law of scattering in different disciplines. This study tries to fill up the gap in literature in analyzing Bradford's law of scattering in the discipline of law.


    This study mainly aims to examine the appropriateness of Bradford's law of scattering in law journals available in the Ph.D dissertations. The objectives of the study are,

  8. To analyze the core journals referenced in the Ph.D. dissertations by Indian researchers;

  9. To rank the cited journal and to check appropriateness of Bradford's Law of Scattering;

  10. To study the phenomenon of scattering for citation data;

  11. To study the chronological distribution of citations;

  12. To find out most cited law journals in India.


    The research was carried out on data available at Shodhganga database retrieved by the keywords law and legal studies. This study is limited to the doctoral theses submitted during the year 2010-2015 to Shodhganga database. It includes citation of journals referred in the doctoral theses and excludes other forms of citations such as books, newspaper, magazines etc. It also excludes chapter citations and case law citations appended in the Ph. D dissertations.


    The present study is confined to the analysis of citations referred in the Ph.D theses accepted in the field of Law and Legal Studies for the award of doctoral degree by various Universities in India available in the public domain of Shodhganga database. The keywords law and legal studies were used to retrieve the relevant reference list of doctoral theses.

    Source of data for this study is imported as Portable Document Format (PDF) file from the database of Shodhganga. Totally 281 doctoral theses were imported. 29 theses were excluded from the study due to technical problem occurred during downloading the data and language of theses. 18613 citations collected from 252 theses were converted from pdf to MS Excel file format for analyzing the data. Out of 18613 citations 3187 citations were journal articles and the remaining 15426 citations were removed from the database. Each record was checked for consistency, redundancy. Totally 914 journal titles were derived from 252 theses. The journal titles rendered in citations was checked for accuracy and completeness. It is observed that most of the researchers used abbreviation in rendering the journal titles and it is also observed that there is frequent change in titles of Law journals.

    Blue book of abbreviation of legal journals and OCLC World Cat were utilized to check the uniformity in rendering of journal title, and to obtain first level of bibliography and subject coverage of the journals. 141 titles of the journals were eliminated from the study due to inaccurate and incomplete titles of the journals.

    Generally, a legal research involves the analysis and / or interpretation of various Codes, Acts, Rules etc, and their implementation in the society. These constitute legal sources of research study which have a primary authority of law. However, there are certain legal sources which have a secondary authority of law. They include journals, reports, treaties, encyclopedia, dictionaries, commentaries and press release etc.


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