Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Angsting Thread (Law Review Edition, Spring 2013)
Friends, the time has come when Redyip is visible. You know what that means. Feel free to use the comments to share your information (and gripes or praise) about which law reviews have turned over, which ones haven't yet, and where you've heard from, and where you've not, and what you'd like Santa to bring you this coming Xmas, etc. It's the semi-annual angsting thread for the law review submission season. Have at it. And do it reasonably nicely, pretty please. Maybe Redyip will even tweet a little this spring.
Update: here is a link to the last page of comments.
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Prof. Peace Love,
If my previous post implied that I was confident in my abilities (as a 2L editor) to choose good scholarship, I apologize -- I never felt especially confident about the whole process. That said, I do think that, at least at my law review, full committee review was more thoughtful, reasoned, and informed, than most people posting on this board imply. That doesn't mean that we got it right every single time, but I do think that we generally did a good, if not great, job of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Our review was blind, which means that to the extent that we did use proxies to select from among an overwhelming number of articles, letterhead or past publication record was not one of them. I, at least, did use overall writing quality as a proxy for the quality of the article, although one could argue that writing quality isn't a proxy at all but is rather a primary criterion of a good piece. I'm also sure that those articles that did the best job of outlining the argument also probably tended to do better in our eyes, but I'm also not sure that such a trait is a proxy rather than a primary factor in an article's quality. I'd be curious to hear what irrelevant information we might have relied on -- I'll let you know what was the case at least for my year choosing articles.
The biggest screening happened at the initial review stage (where usually a single editor or pair of editors decided whether an article merited full committee review). There is no doubt in my mind that we screened out a number of great articles at that point, simply because we were moving too fast or were biased against certain types of pieces. However, we did not--and we could not have even if we had wanted to--screen articles by the author's affiliation, publication record, or anything of that sort. And, to the extent that we were biased in certain directions, I'm not sure that it was in the ways commonly cited on this board -- for example, we imposed a deliberately-raised standard for conlaw articles. I would once again refer you to some of my earlier posts (only a page or two back) on the subject.
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 18, 2013 12:45:25 PM
It seems that among the things people are talking about when they say that letterhead bias influences selection at all levels--including blind reviews--is the fact that in order to get actually get read by some/most of the top blind review journals, one needs to expedite from a top journal. Among the factors at play in non-blind review journals is significant letterhead bias/etc.
Anyway, it seems like much of the frustration could be mitigated if journals would just (1) indicate what their proxies were and (2) explain what factors (other than reading the article) could override the initial proxy decision. Let's say a journal says something like this:
"Due to the overwhelming number of submissions, we give priority to authors meeting two or more of the following standards [list standards]. We encourage authors not meeting these standards to include [some proxy override factor] or to consider submitting their article after receipt of an offer of publication from [some standard]."
This does not address the underlying problem, BUT at least authors would know in advance their nonsubstantive chances. Early in the game (career-wise), gauging the play of one's article is fairly difficult because one is unsure how much rejections/offers/silence reflect the quality of the article (or the attractiveness of the article to 2Ls) and how much it reflects the quality of the resume.
Posted by: Disclosure | Apr 18, 2013 1:28:36 PM
Regarding expedites, we prioritized expedite requests for the purposes of deciding which articles to read first (both on initial screening review and on full committee review). However, expedites were not given more favorable treatment than other articles -- just faster treatment -- and I suspect that the majority of our offers did NOT come off of expedite requests.*
*The one exception to this is that there were, on maybe one or two occasions, a time that the committee was rushed to make a decision by a 1 hour exploding offer (I believe Penn was doing that at the time). There's a chance that our rushing caused us to accept an article we would not have otherwise accepted. I think, however, that it's equally likely that we rejected an article that I would have otherwise taken given the rush.
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 18, 2013 1:40:20 PM
Clercktoprof - I don't think anyone questions your integrity. And I, for one, believe you when you say you didn't (knowingly) use proxies in your initial review.
That said, blind review is an exception. Most journals (including the great majority of T50 - where we all want to publish) don't review on a blind basis. Also, I suspect that even in the case of your journal, proxies did play a role when you had to make a decisions between a few articles that made it to the final stages. Once the author is exposed, bias is an inherent part of human behavior, even if you try to avoid it. Finally, as you say, you simply didn't have enough time to thoroughly review all submissions, which makes the use of proxies/biases unavoidable, even if unintentional.
I can think of issues such as length of article, the level of interest that particular editors have in the subject matter, the ability (or lack thereof) of a student to understand and appreciate certain complex arguments, footnoting (which I know for a fact can get an article rejected) and so on. None of these are true proxies (or at least not necessarily very good proxies) as to the quality of a piece, but you have to use them in order to sort thru 3000 submissions. And that is fine. But it would have been much better if you only had to review 300 submissions. I'm sure you could still feel your volume with excellent articles.
As per enforcement of a system limiting submissions and expedites, I suggested before that this should be strictly regulated by a governing body such as the AALS. Deregulation proponents would hate me for this idea, but I truly think what we are experiencing is a complete market failure, and when this happens someone needs to step in.
My utopia would be that under ABA accreditation standards any law review in an ABA accredited school would be required to accept submissions on an exclusive basis only. I doubt I could find many people to agree with me. But I have also suggested a much more compromised version of this idea on page 6 of this thread.
Posted by: AnonAsstProf | Apr 18, 2013 1:46:45 PM
Well, yes... Feel = fill
Posted by: AnonAsstProf | Apr 18, 2013 2:00:36 PM
AAP, how is footnoting not a true proxy for the quality of the paper? Sure, the starnote is not. But other footnotes are PART of the paper's argument (in offering support for assertions, in providing context, in clarifying tangential issues). Bluebooking footnotes also can be an indicator of quality of scholarship because it shows an attention to petty, arbitrary detail.
Posted by: BG | Apr 18, 2013 2:20:04 PM
I understand that true blind review is rare in the process. I got a little sidetracked in my argument, which was that top law reviews rely on proxies far less than other law reviews because they have enough time to be able to afford to (and that the extra time is a function of having to only make roughly one offer per publication, and that therefore a regime of exclusivity solves a large part of the problem with editors' overuse of proxies).
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 18, 2013 2:36:43 PM
BG, I have to disagree with you. Footnotes COULD be a good proxy if student editors were in a position to judge that you cite to relevant/current/most influential literature in your field. But they are not. All they can judge is the number of footnotes, and the journals cited (which again, is not necessarily a good proxy to the relevancy of the articles cited to support the propositions in the article).
In addition, attention to petty, arbitrary detail is what it is - attention to ARBITRARY details that have nothing to do with the quality of your research, or the quality of your argument. It is an excellent proxy, however, to the level of endurance of one's research assistant. I had research assistants who were BB sensations but could not find a single case addressing specific questions (even though multiple cases were out there). I also had RAs who couldn't stand to do bluebooking (which meant the footnotes' formatting suffered), but could locate a 1864 municipal ordinance with no particular difficulty. I always prefer the later.
Posted by: AnonAsstProf | Apr 18, 2013 2:42:50 PM
BG, for some reason my response didn't post, so I am trying again:
I respectfully disagree. For footnotes to be a proxy for the quality of a piece, the student editors need to be in a position to evaluate whether the pieces you cite to are the most influential/relevant/current in your field, or whether you have left out an important piece of literature. Student editors are not in such a position. Not even remotely.
All that student editors can judge is the number of footnotes (completely irrelevant as to the quality of the article except under extraordinary circumstances), and the journals cited in the footnotes (completely irrelevant for purposes of determining whether the sources cited are truly the most relevant for the proposition one makes in his or her article).
I also disagree with your second point. Being attentive to “petty, arbitrary detail” says relatively little about the quality of your piece. It says a lot about the endurance of your RA, though. I had RAs who were blue-book wizards, but I couldn't trust them with case searches. They were great technicians but lousy researchers. I also had an RA who could locate a 1864 municipal ordinance without difficulty, but was a blue-book disaster. I always prefer the good researchers over the best technicians.
Posted by: AnonAsstProf | Apr 18, 2013 3:00:40 PM
Totally valid points, AAP. I speak from the experience of having done my own Bluebooking (because I lack the other non-true proxies) and agree with you that the number of footnotes and journals cited therein are not a valid proxy. I was actually speaking to the quality of the footnotes as would be assessed by other scholars in the relevant field -- but that is obviously something you can't expect from most 2Ls.
All that to say: While footnotes are a true proxy for quality (in my opinion), they likely are not, as you note, in the manner that they are reviewed in the submission process.
Posted by: BG | Apr 18, 2013 3:10:03 PM
Clerktoprof: Prioritizing off of expedites is not itself a proxy for value, but it does mean that you do not read every submission before determining which ones will make it into the volume. In other words, this isn't completely meritocratic.
Posted by: Prof. Peace Love | Apr 18, 2013 5:44:28 PM
Clerktoprof: Did you seek professor input regarding what manuscripts to select? Did professors bring articles to you on behalf of others? What about their own writings? These things are highly influential and certainly not a solid proxy for value.
Posted by: Prof. Peace Love | Apr 18, 2013 5:47:59 PM
Stanford, California or Southern Cal? No mention during the entire process. Expedite deadline about to expire. At this point, I would go with the top 20 journal regardless - because its staff is responsive.
Posted by: Prof. Peace Love | Apr 18, 2013 5:49:31 PM
Prof. Peace Love,
You make a lot of assumptions about the process that are not, in my experience, true.
First, we did read every single submission before determining which ones made it into the volume (at some predetermined point we stopped accepting submissions for our volume). I do not believe that the order in which we read submissions impacted any outcomes (and it only impacted our consideration insofar as those submissions we were considering for our final slots may have received slightly more favorable attention because we knew we had x number of slots left to fill and a finite number of pieces left to review -- a factor that ironically would have harmed expedited articles).
Second, we did solicit peer review on most of the articles we ultimately accepted (and many full board review articles that we did not). If comments of experts in the field is not a proxy for value, I'm not sure what is. We generally did not solicit from our own faculty.
Third, although professors (at our school generally) occasionally sent us articles, this was a rare enough occurrence so as to have little-to-no effect on that year's publication -- it may have happened 3-4 times over the entire year. I'm not sure if we accepted a single article that was referred to us, and I'm fairly confident that we did not accept more than a handful. Also, if a HYS professor in the field likes an article enough to send it along to the law review with a personal note, well, that strikes me as being a fairly valid proxy for value.
Fourth, I'm not sure what you're referring to with regards to profs referring their own writings to the law review; as far as I know, if that happened, such articles were not considered more favorably than other articles (e.g., they were uploaded to our submission system where they became indistinguishable from other articles). If you're referring to the "home prof" advantage, as I previously mentioned, there were some procedural advantages that we gave to our home faculty (they were all automatically considered at full review), but we held these submissions to the same standard as the rest. My understanding is that the home faculty "advantage" was built in as a courtesy rather than to give our home faculty any actual advantage. Incidentally, I'm fairly certain that we did not publish any of our own faculty in my year on the journal.
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 18, 2013 6:47:53 PM
clerktoprof: It sounds like you were at Yale, no? Am I right that there's a step in the process in which an editor decides whether or not to send an article through the full review process, and that that editor is not blind to the author's identity?
Posted by: anon | Apr 18, 2013 7:26:43 PM
I'm not going to say which journal I was on, but I will say that the step you note was not in place during my year on my journal. I don't know if things have changed since, but I suspect they have not.
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 18, 2013 8:06:25 PM
clerktoprof said: "Second, we did solicit peer review on most of the articles we ultimately accepted (and many full board review articles that we did not). If comments of experts in the field is not a proxy for value, I'm not sure what is. We generally did not solicit from our own faculty."
Once you become a professor, you will discover this bizarre thing called "faculty politics." If an article criticizes a particular person or doesn't cite a particular argument, people can resist it for personal reasons. In other words, emotions often enter this game. And because the stakes are limited (publication by this journal, rather than by ANY journal), I think the incentives are quite high for being petty. Things differ with tenure review; things are too serious for such games - although they still happen.
This could really become an issue if you send more than one piece to a particular scholar. I assume that seasoned scholars in a field would be able to recognize another scholars' writing - even in a blind process. So, external review can allow bias to creep into the process.
CLERKTOPROF said: "Also, if a HYS professor in the field likes an article enough to send it along to the law review with a personal note, well, that strikes me as being a fairly valid proxy for value."
But this statement endorses one of the weakest proxies of all -- LETTERHEAD. If someone at Penn said an article is great, would this carry less weight than a person at HYS? If someone at University of Maryland said this, why should it carry even less weight? Teaching at the top 3 is not necessarily a measure of a person's competence. There are far more people seeking jobs in academia than are available positions. The notion that this process distributes positions without subjective decision making or deviations from merit is indefensible. Merit is also subject to varying interpretations. Students on law reviews, however, apparently believe that elite letterhead profs have a greater ability to produce AND spot great scholarship. That is a frightening thought.
Furthermore, people tend to pass along scholarship produced by their friends. Thus, professor recommendations do not represent a random sampling of great scholarship. It is an inherently biased process.
Finally, while you dismiss the relevance of home professor advantage, you admit that professors at your school received automatic full-board review. That's a nice "courtesy," but it is a courtesy that affects outcome. Under the normal process, one person can block an article before anyone else examines it. With home professors, these articles make it to full board where good advocacy among students can take place. Also, you describe this as a blind process, but this seems doubtful. If none of the articles editors has ever read the piece, then wouldn't everyone know that a home school faculty member submitted the article?
Posted by: Prof. Peace Love | Apr 18, 2013 9:20:36 PM
On another thread regarding $200 casebooks, I posted a proposal about countering the collective action problem of getting law professors to contribute edited cases and materials to electronic, open-source casebooks that would be either free or extremely cheap. To attract law professor participation in such a project, I proposed that the law reviews consider giving priority or expedited consideration (without an existing offer) to the articles of professors who contribute to open-source casebooks. If the comments on the Angsting thread are any indication, the value of having an article being seriously considered by a T50 law review appears to be high. At the same time, wouldn't students want to encourage their professors to develop casebooks that are essentially free? In fact, I think law review editors have the ability to leverage the submission process to get law professors to engage in behaviors that might benefit legal education as a whole.
Posted by: anon | Apr 19, 2013 1:11:12 AM
Prof. Peace Love,
I'm not arguing that our process was entirely free of any bias. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but many of your criticisms would similarly apply to faculty-edited true blind peer review. In any event, I don't know that much more is to be gained from debating the particulars of every single aspect of the process. You can choose to believe that this process is hopelessly tainted by unfair biases, if that is in fact what you believe -- I'll let my posts speak for themselves.
Posted by: clerktoprof | Apr 19, 2013 1:23:44 PM
This thread no longer serves angsters. In my humble opinion it's time to close.
Posted by: anoff | Apr 21, 2013 7:59:46 AM
anoff: I beg to differ. I find it even more anxiety- and angst-provoking now that nobody says anything. I check it every 30-45 minutes, and nothing ever changes. Much like my e-mail.
Actually, I've received some more exciting rejections, in case anyone's interested:
4/20: George Washington
4/18: Chicago, Michigan State
Posted by: Steve | Apr 21, 2013 8:46:07 AM
@Steve: I am simply concerned about your health. Nothing that characterizes an angsting period has happened here for a while. The discussions may be interesting or valuable for some, but have nothing to do with the original purpose of the thread...
Posted by: anoff | Apr 21, 2013 1:26:51 PM
When did you submit? I submitted (to roughly the top 50) at the beginning of April and have received the following rejections:
Ohio State (4/15)
No good news.
Posted by: anon | Apr 21, 2013 3:20:19 PM
anoff: Thanks for your concern. It probably would be good for me if this thread no longer beckoned to me in my current state of mental ill-health, but I don't know that I understand what the original purpose was.
anon: I submitted too late. Most on 3/30, then a smaller second wave on 4/09. Waiting sucks, but I'll just keep doing it. I have beer. ;-)
Posted by: Steve | Apr 21, 2013 4:01:33 PM
I'm going to angst about SSRN, an unusual thing to do, I guess.
Does anyone know what kind of a paper can be put on SSRN's eLibrary? They say it must be a "scholarly research paper" that is part of the "world-wide scholarly discourse" on an area covered by SSRN. "Opinion Papers", whatever those are, are not allowed.
But from what I can see, there are definitely papers on SSRN's eLibrary that are opinions. I'm starting to wonder if SSRN thinks that the opinions of professors at top schools count as "scholarly discourse" but others don't...
Or does SSRN simply count by the number of sources you cite? If you cite a whole bunch of sources then it counts as "research"?
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 21, 2013 10:30:36 PM
not-a-prof: Sorry I can't help you out, but good question. I was hoping somebody else would weigh in.
Here's a story Veteran Publisher once told me:
"On my first submission, I experienced about 1000 different emotions. None was positive. But, suddenly, I started hearing from many schools during late April and May. So, unless you get a response from everyone, don't withdraw. Good luck!"
This is now my *favorite* story, moving into the top spot over "The Velveteen Rabbit." However, my liking of the story depends largely on a background assumption to the effect that I might be able to tell a similar story sometime late next month. Any thoughts on how plausible this assumption is?
Posted by: Steve | Apr 23, 2013 11:51:23 PM
Steve: Thanks. I have good news from SSRN, they consider my paper to be scholarly! So it's on! Maybe SSRN is the way to go since not many publishable papers get a chance to be published.
On VP's story: it's a great story. I'm now waiting on Harvard, but they take a long time. I don't think it's a sign of serious consideration. They probably just have too many papers to review. Did you try Harvard?
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 24, 2013 12:31:57 AM
not-a-prof: That's great about SSRN, I think. Perhaps I should look into putting some papers on there.
I'm waiting on decisions from Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Penn, Northwestern, Georgetown, USC, Notre Dame, Emory, Washington & Lee, and BU. And that's only counting the places that are *definitely* using the pages of my article to line the cages of their magnificent show parakeets.
I'd go on to list the various other reviews/journals who might be affording my article the dignity of being used as scrap paper or to start fires, but that would take up too much space.
But yes, of course, I'm still holding out hope for Harvard. :-)
Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 1:00:13 AM
I submitted at a similar time as you did and am still waiting to hear back from a very similar set of journals (although Penn rejected me close to immediately after I submitted, so congrats on avoiding that fate). Like you, I'm sure they've all been enjoying using my article to line their pets' cages too much to get back to me. (Although, incidentally, I think BU is full.) For my own sick curiosity, did you blanket the top 50 and have otherwise heard back, or did you leave other schools you're still waiting to hear from off of your list (I'm also waiting on Chicago, Texas, Iowa, Fordham, UNC, Alabama, Wake Forest, ASU, George Mason, Hastings, and Arizona).
Posted by: c2p | Apr 24, 2013 1:47:00 AM
c2p: Thanks for angsting in at this late date.
I'm happy to fuel your sick curiosity, and I'd appreciate your willingness to exacerbate my own.
I blanketed the top 100 or so journals plus a bunch of specialty journals. Out of the top 50 (based on US News' execrable but still somehow authoritative rankings):
Rejected: Yale, Chicago, Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Cornell, UCLA, Texas, Vanderbilt, George Washington, Washington (St. Louis), Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State, Florida.
Limbo: [above list], Arizona State, Iowa, BC, Fordham, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, George Mason, Arizona, Hastings, Wake Forest, Colorado, American, Pepperdine.
Too late to apply: NYU, Cal, Minnesota, Washington (Seattle), UC Davis, William & Mary, BYU, Utah.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 2:24:55 AM
I've mostly lurked this thread, but want to provide some updates on my rejections:
• Yale (4/8, NT)
• Harvard (4/8, NT)
• Stanford (4/15, weak expedite)
• Chicago (4/15, weak expedite)
• Penn (4/3, NT)
• UVA (3/30, NT)
• Michigan (4/3, NT, 25 hours - I was proud of that :))
• Duke (4/7, NT)
• Cornell (4/2, NT)
• Georgetown (4/23, exp from T60)
• Vanderbilt (4/4, NT)
• UCLA (4/5, NT)
• Wash U. (4/5, NT)
• GW (4/20, exp from T60)
• Notre Dame (4/10, weak expedite)
• IU-Bloomington (4/16, less weak expedite)
• Wisconsin (4/10, weak expedite)
• George Mason (4/16, less weak expedite)
• Colorado (4/16, less weak expedite, stated limited scope of articles)
• Florida (4/10, weak expedite)
• Illinois (3/30, NT)
• Houston (4/6, NT)
• Tulane (3/30, NT)
• SMU (4/10, weak expedite)
Columbia, Northwestern, Texas, USC, Alabama, Emory, Iowa, W&L, ASU, BC, UNC, UGA, OSU, Arizona, Fordham, Wake Forest, Maryland, FSU, Hastings
Submitted *very* late.
Posted by: lateanon | Apr 24, 2013 3:25:58 AM
Thanks, lateanon. I'm not sure why, but it's somehow comforting to see other people's results.
For example, Texas and OSU already got around to rejecting my article, but they're still keeping their options open on yours. Good news? Who knows?
Similarly, several of your rejecters are on my "limbo" list, so maybe they're preparing themselves to make me an offer I won't refuse. Or maybe they just have a huge backlog of rejections to send.
By the way, what do you mean by "weak expedite"? Do they actually write something like, "You're trying to expedite to *us* from *______*?! That's pretty weak."? :-)
Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 12:01:58 PM
Steve, you're absolutely right, it is comforting to see results other than your own. Maybe to know you're not the only one who was rejected by that particular journal?
I will say, I found this site after I submitted. This was my first US submission, and I had no idea how the whole thing worked. After reading through this thread and going through the Expresso process, I will approach publishing my next article differently (and a bit more strategically). I will say I do enjoy Expresso's ease of use; upload, select, submit, and there you have it! And that's where my enjoyment of Expresso stops. I think this mass-submit system is why the silent treatment has become the standard response. When one pays $2.20/submission out of their own [unemployed or under-employed] pocket, the least the journal can do is send a rejection. I think I mentioned my response rate earlier in this thread - something like a 60% silence rate. I appreciate not every journal will be able to give me personalized feedback (your article sucks; we got a great laugh out of the fact that you thought you could publish this with us, we loved it but you're not pedigreed enough), but at the very least take five minutes out of your time to send me an email stating you don't want to publish my article. A friend told me about Expresso; were it not for her advice, I would have submitted to each journal individually via email and been none the wiser. In the past I have exclusively submitted (journals outside the US); I anticipated following that path again and had I done so, with the ensuing silence I likely would still be waiting for the first journal to get back to me.
Posted by: Lurker | Apr 24, 2013 12:18:58 PM
Steve I just just got a first offer in late april keep hope
Posted by: anon | Apr 24, 2013 2:14:32 PM
Steve I just just got a first offer in late april keep hope
Posted by: anon | Apr 24, 2013 2:14:33 PM
anon 2:14, I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear your news. Congratulations to you, and thanks for sharing!
VP's story is still on top, despite the timeless appeal of toy rabbits who become real.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 24, 2013 7:46:37 PM
@Steve -- no. I got hit with a couple of exploding offers, and while the journals were (mostly) very nice about extensions, I expedited all the way up rather than in waves. It was an unorthodox choice, perhaps, but considering I'm a believer in the expedite-as-weak-proxy-for-peer-review hypothesis, I figured at least the journals could track my acceptances with each new expedite and decide for themselves. I also think it helped keep me from getting lost in the proverbial masses.
It's one theory. Editorial staffs, I'm sure, have their varying preferences, as least some of which likely include "sheesh, this person is emailing us again?!?!?" So we'll see if I get any luck from it at the end.
Posted by: lateanon | Apr 25, 2013 5:13:21 AM
lateanon: Thanks for explaining. If I do receive the fabled late-April or early-May offer, I'll have to think about what to do, but I doubt I'll have time to mess around with multiple expedites. I'll consult with my opinionated advisers, but I'd guess I'll just expedite to everyone up the chain and withdraw from everywhere else.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 26, 2013 12:34:32 AM
I don't think expediting all the way up is "unorthodox." If you read through this thread and those from past years, it seems fairly standard.
Posted by: vaptastic | Apr 26, 2013 3:20:08 PM
I expedited up this year from a law review in the lower second tier to a T14 law review, so I'm all about expediting all the way.
Posted by: anon | Apr 27, 2013 3:02:33 PM
Stanford rejection today. They didn't say they were full, FYI.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 27, 2013 7:26:06 PM
lateanon: How late did you submit??? I submitted 6 Apr, which I think is very late.
My paper's fate on SSRN is pretty sad. I don't think anyone has even taken a look at the abstract, let alone downloading the paper...
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 27, 2013 10:36:10 PM
lateanon: How late did you submit??? I submitted 6 Apr, which I think is very late.
My paper's fate on SSRN is pretty sad. I don't think anyone has even taken a look at the abstract, let alone downloading the paper...
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 27, 2013 10:36:12 PM
Viewers won't come to your paper on their own. If you want people to view the paper, you need to do some advertising. Send it to the relevant person on the Law Professor Blogs network and ask them to link it on their blog. Send it to Larry Solum and see if he will link it. Post on Prawfs and other places under your real name and link your name to your SSRN page.
Posted by: am-a-prof | Apr 27, 2013 11:00:51 PM
@not-a-prof: end of march
Posted by: lateanon | Apr 28, 2013 6:43:35 PM
am-a-prof: Thanks for your advice!
lateanon: ok, I'll let you know when I get rejections.
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 28, 2013 7:11:23 PM
Hi, uh, is this thing on?
I imagine there are still some lurkers about, so I'll ask the question that nags at me day and night:
Does anyone have any idea of what's going on out there in journal-editing land?
For example, here's a story I like to tell myself, borrowing heavily from VP's (my favorite) story: Many mid- to lower-tier journals take a while to fill up their pages because people keep expediting up from offers they extend. When the dust settles in early May -- i.e., all the fancy authors and fancy journals have satisfied their needs -- some less-fancy journals might be looking for less-fancy authors/articles to fill up their volumes.
Does this story have any basis in reality? I have reason to think it doesn't, as I've heard from T150 journals that they are full and haven't heard anything from several T10 journals.
If any current or former journal editors or other informed folk could weigh in on these questions, I'd appreciate it.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 30, 2013 10:20:51 AM
Isn't everyone in finals right about now?
Posted by: pleepleus | Apr 30, 2013 1:02:41 PM
Oh right! Finals! No wonder they're taking so long.
Posted by: not-a-prof | Apr 30, 2013 7:29:36 PM
I hadn't thought of that. My lingering question, of course, is as follows:
Did the industrious 2Ls already wrap up all their article-selecting duties in order to have a clean slate for finals, or will they be prepared to give appropriate consideration to my awesome scholarship when they finish their exams?
In any case, thanks for mentioning the exams, pleepleus.
Posted by: Steve | Apr 30, 2013 9:39:47 PM
What is Harvard doing?? They're taking really long.
Steve: you submitted on 3/30 and I submitted on 4/6. They still haven't gotten back yet. I really can't imagine that they are actually interested in my paper. So why are they taking so long? ANGST.
We can take a look at their review process:
The Harvard Law Review carefully considers all manuscripts that it receives. Our selection process has many steps: each piece is reviewed anonymously, at least two editors review every submission, and many pieces go through substantially more stages of review, including an Articles Committee vote, a preemption check, faculty peer review, and a vote by the body of the Review. Although we make every effort to honor requests for expedited review, we do not omit any of our review stages in response to such requests. When requesting an expedited review, please understand that our selection process takes time.
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 6, 2013 1:00:18 AM
not-a-prof: Harvard is the least of my worries. Whatever their review process involves, it is designed to ensure that they will not publish goofy papers from nobodies like me, and I trust their process to filter me out.
I'm more worried about, say, the Kentucky Law Journal. I would be very pleased to hear from them, but no news so far. I assume they're still busy with exams, but I'm not holding my breath to hear from them or other non-Harvard reviews/journals.
To quote my favorite song from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall":
"It's getting kind of hard to believe things are going to get better."
Posted by: Steve | May 6, 2013 8:15:38 PM
This is my first submission season and I submitted very late in the game (early april). After a dozen rejections in the first ten days and then weeks of radio silence, I was thrilled to receive an offer from a top-100 journal. I'm taking a shot at expediting to journals that I haven't heard from yet. Good luck to everyone--journals are still reviewing!
Posted by: first-time anon | May 7, 2013 10:54:49 AM
first-time anon: Congratulations! And thanks very much for sharing your story. I now feel more entitled to the shreds of hope to which I'm clinging. :-)
Posted by: Steve | May 7, 2013 7:59:51 PM
first-time anon: thanks for sharing your story! and Congratulations!
Steve: speaking of goofy, that's exactly my paper. I find that, sometimes, when you try to say something very simple, people might think it's too simple to be published.
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 7, 2013 9:43:36 PM
so I thought I'd share my final outcome:
- late march submission
- LOTS of expediting
- ultimately landed in the vicinity of 50 (depending on which year's data you use).
I'm quite happy with where I landed and the student editors seem great -- they wrote an offer letter which substantively addressed the contribution they think my piece makes, which I find (perhaps naively, as I've not worked with this journal before) to be a selling point since it suggested they read the piece thoroughly, understand why it matters, and will (hopefully) give it the same attention during the editing/publication process.
Bottom line: for a late march submission, as a young(er) scholar, I am thrilled. Most journals were (long) full when I submitted (a fact I later learned through independent sources).
Posted by: lateanon | May 10, 2013 3:00:38 AM
lateanon: You have my deepest congratulations/envy! I was hoping I would be able to tell a story like that by now, and I share your assessment that you had a very good outcome.
Posted by: Steve | May 10, 2013 12:52:33 PM
Cal. L. Rev. ding on a submission more than two months ago.
Posted by: anon | May 10, 2013 8:10:07 PM
Iowa is done reviewing.
Posted by: c2p | May 14, 2013 11:56:46 AM
Hey, Steve - Are we the last ones standing? In case you decide to check out, I just wanted to thank you for your posts. It has made the angsting much more pleasant. I hope they don't turn off the lights here and lock the doors before you can give us the good news about the fate of the unicorns.
Posted by: Academic tourist | May 17, 2013 10:05:03 AM
Hi AT, thanks for checking in. I don't know about "standing," but I'm still lurking here from time to time. Any luck on your end? Since April 28, I've received two rejections (May 13 and 16) and nothing else.
I've decided to shop the article as a screenplay now, or perhaps as a corporate mission statement for Toys R Us. Never fear, the unicorns will find a home!
Posted by: Steve | May 17, 2013 10:29:33 PM
I'm giving up on mine! I guess it will be permanently exhibited at the Museum of SSRN!
So, to all dear profs, please, please feel free to cite SSRN if you see an article you like/dislike on there, it may just be mine!
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 18, 2013 8:04:10 PM
not-a-prof, take heart — a friend of mine submitted a paper last cycle and got no offers. He resubmitted it this cycle and got several offers, including a very good law review in the top 50ish.
Posted by: fellow | May 20, 2013 10:55:44 PM
fellow: Thank you so much for the encouragement!! I'll try that! Do you think that my paper being on SSRN would have any effect on anything? (because people are reading it already) Like, would journals think that because it's already being read, it's not "new" anymore and it's not as "big" of a thing to publish?
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 22, 2013 2:58:50 AM
not-a-prof, most editors these days fully expect a "draft" to be up on SSRN before the actual publication. Some editors even troll SSRN for recent "working papers" that they might like to publish. Additionally, I would not be afraid to tout downloads, top 10 lists, etc. when you resubmit as a mark of the article's quality/importance. And I have certainly seen SSRN manuscripts cited in other articles, amicus brief, opinions, etc.
Posted by: Crucifictorius | May 22, 2013 1:03:14 PM
Crucifictorius: Thanks for the info!
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 22, 2013 7:07:58 PM
Crucifictorius: Do you think 20 downloads on SSRN is worth touting?
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 22, 2013 9:44:11 PM
email me, as it would be helpful to know subject matter, etc. . . . firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by: Crucifictorius | May 23, 2013 11:02:32 AM
Crucifictorius: Thanks a TON for offering your email and your help! Unfortunately for me, I still would like to remain anonymous, although I know that if I did email you, you would give me very good advice. I might get the courage to disclose my identity someday...
My paper is still being considered by one journal and I assume it will be rejected, so I plan on submitting to more journals afterwards, which all apparently require exclusive submission. So it will be one after another, until they've all rejected me.
This one journal seems to be the perfect fit for my paper, but I don't know if they would would actually think so. It even fits very specifically with their mission statement, but I did not "sell" it that way to them. I'm just hoping that they would notice that anyhow, but for them to see that, it would require some serious consideration of my paper. But it being such a short paper, and I mean extremely short, it's difficult to get people to take it seriously, although I mean for it to be a very serious paper. (or maybe there's something really really wrong with my argument and I'm stupid enough not to see it)
Whew, it was good to get that out.
Anyway, thank you again!
Posted by: not-a-prof | May 24, 2013 12:32:47 AM
The SMU Science and Technology Law Review is currently accepting article and essay submissions for its September 2013 issue. See http://writtendescription.blogspot.com/2013/05/smu-science-technology-law-review-seeks.html for more information.
Posted by: SMU | May 25, 2013 4:30:43 PM
Wow!!! OMG. Submitted January 30, 2013, dead silence until just a few minutes (except from my mom, though, who after a few coaxing hints told me she loved the article) and then, within 30 minutes (!) offers from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, NYU, Stanford, and Cooley flag ship law reviews! Still waiting to hear from a couple. How long can I ask from Harvard and Yale before deciding? Should I let go of the Cooley offer or keep it if they give me more expediting time than the others?
Posted by: AnonProf | Jun 6, 2013 11:54:29 AM
AnonProf: Congratulations! I would be temped to accept all of them. Harvard, Yale, Stanford sounds like the most difficult decision in the world. But I wouldn't make my decision based on the amount of expediting time. I would just pick one (somehow???) and then REGRET that I had to turn down all the other ones!
Posted by: not-a-prof | Jun 11, 2013 2:36:11 AM
To any journal Editor who may (still) be reading this thread: if you have decided not to make an offer to publish a submission, please please please remember to let the author know. They may be waiting to submit to journals that require exclusive submission...
Authors don't want to ask for a status update because they don't want to bother you knowing that you must be really busy and all... but it is so sad if their article has already been rejected but the author keeps waiting for the notification that will never come :( and they won't be able to get it to other (exclusive submission) journals...
Posted by: not-a-prof | Jun 25, 2013 3:15:03 AM
Just wanted to write a little story of hope: This was my first submissions cycle. I submitted in February and again in March, heard nothing but rejections and a bit more of nothing until last week. I had assumed the piece was rejected. I got my first acceptance last week. Immediately expedited, and got accepted to a far more prestigious law review today. Moral of the story: Never give up!
Posted by: Newbie | Jul 24, 2013 4:41:26 PM
To Everyone who hasn't heard from Columbia yet, they sent out an email on 1 Aug saying that:
"Due to limited publication space in our Fall books, many pieces were neither accepted nor rejected by the time piece selection was completed. All such pieces, including your submission to the Review, remain active in our system and will continue to be considered for publication in our Spring books beginning today, August 1st."
Did anyone also get this email?
Posted by: not-a-prof | Aug 1, 2013 10:50:43 PM
Also got the Columbia email. Any active reviewing going on out there, or will it be summer doldrums for the next 10 days?
Posted by: anon | Aug 2, 2013 10:15:43 AM
Is it time yet? Is anyone submitting and are any boards reading?
Posted by: Anon | Aug 3, 2013 12:44:56 PM
Can someone give me a little advice. When submitting an article via Expresso or Scholastica, should one remove all identifying information from the first page (i.e. author's name and acknowledgements), or should one leave them in? Thanks all.
Posted by: Research Fellow | Aug 5, 2013 2:28:21 PM
Research Fellow--leave them in. (HYS asks you to submit anonymously, but they have their own non-ExpressO, non-Scholastica systems).
Of the top 10, I know that Chicago and NYU are actively reading.
Posted by: anon | Aug 5, 2013 3:36:23 PM
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