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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Holes in the dueling submission systems

Redyip has again been sighted. But now, her (his? its?) semi-annual call sends us scurrying to a second main submission system (putting aside the direct-submits). And Corey Rayburn Yung (Kansas) emails Dan and me to suggest that this creates some problems; his email is reprinted in full below (with his permission):

I thought either of you might be interested in posting about a hole in the new submission system with Scholastica and Expresso. If an author receives an offer from a Scholastica journal (i.e., Cardozo, Iowa, USC, or California) and wants to use it as the basis for an expedite request to an Expresso journal, there is a problem. Most, if not all, of the Scholastica journals are no longer listed as sources of offers in Expresso. And an author no longer has the option to just type in the name of the journal that made an offer. As a result, the only option an author can choose is to that he or she did not wish to disclose the identity of the offering journal. Then the author can put the name of the journal in your subject line and body of the email.

That would be fine except for how the new Expresso system looks on the journal’s end. When viewing all expedite requests, the text and subject of the email is not visible. Instead, the journal editor will click on “Details” from the list of expedited articles which will then reveal only that the author chose not to disclose the source of the offering journal. And given that most (if not all) journals will not take expedite requests from unknown journals, the editor will simply reject the article. Until this issue is resolved, I would implore law review editors to look further at those expedite requests with no offering journal listed to see if there really is an offer from a Scholastica journal before disposing of the article based upon policy.

Has anyone else experienced this problem and/or figured out how to resolve it?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 12, 2013 at 01:51 PM in Howard Wasserman, Law Review Review, Teaching Law | Permalink

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I had this same problem, and contacted Expresso last week to determine if there was a workaround. They confirmed that there is no way to resolve the issue. As noted here, a candidate with an offer from a non-Expresso journal must choose, "I prefer not to disclose the name of offering journal," and write in the journal's name in the email. The representative at Expresso explained that this was done to encourage all law journals to use Expresso's "comprehensive service."

Posted by: Briana Rosenbaum | Mar 12, 2013 3:20:00 PM

I'd like to see confirmation from our friends at expresso that the info in the first comment is accurate -- not that I doubt Ms. Rosenbaum, but I'd prefer not to fly off the handle over a misunderstanding.
For now, I'll just note that the rationale reported is ridiculous: offering journals don't care that it is hard to expedite their offer, and indeed many will be delighted. The actual target of the incentive is thus presumably us submitters, who are-- what? Supposed to shut down scholastica in our outrage?

Posted by: BDG | Mar 12, 2013 5:47:22 PM

Although I too was annoyed, to be fair, I imagine it's more about Expresso's wish to offer an integrated/comprehensive product than it is about inciting protest. A number of Expresso's new editor-focused features (like certification of offers and prioritizing law review "peers") don't work if authors expedite from non-Expresso integrated law journals.

Posted by: Briana Rosenbaum | Mar 12, 2013 6:50:09 PM

I'm trying to think this one through and am wondering the following. Doesn't the fact that Expresso does not provide a more direct way to expedite off of offers from Scholastica make Scholastica more attractive to law reviews? The consequence would seem to be that if your law review uses Scholastica as a platform, then your competitor Expresso law reviews will have a harder time picking off articles that you've given offers to because they will not be as easily identified.

Posted by: Michael Helfand | Mar 12, 2013 7:35:55 PM

I complained about the same problem in the angsting thread. In my case there was a workaround in that I got the Scholastica journal offer off an expedite from an ExpressO journal, so I simply selected the ExpressO journal and put the Scholastica journal in the email. But there needs to be a more general work around. And if Briana's comment is fully accurate (like Brian, not meant as expressing doubt), then I want some antitrust experts to comment. While Michael seems to think that this might induce some law reviews to switch to Scholastica, I don't think so. Law reviews that don't want to allow expedites don't have to, since they can just give exploding offers. The reason that they do what they do is because they won't get authors to submit in the first place if they don't allow expediting. So ExpressO making it more difficult to expedite is a net loss for the Scholastica law review.

Posted by: TJ | Mar 13, 2013 2:08:31 AM

I had a slightly different issue come up. I was given an offer from an ExpressO journal. I then expedited, but strangely didn't get a single response from any of the journals I expedited too. (It seems that I usually get responses from journals that reviewed the article but decided not to make an offer, and I also usually get other offers, so I was a bit puzzled.) Anyway, five minutes after I accepted the offer from the first journal, I got an automated email from Expresso saying I had an offer from that journal. Then a couple of hours later, I got another automated email from ExpressO saying my offer had expired. Both emails came after I had already accepted the offer.

I am not sure what to make of all this. Is ExpressO supposed to generate an automated email as soon as the journal registers its offer? (This was my first time using ExpressO with the new offer system, so I am not sure quite what is supposed to happen.) If so, why did I only get it after the offer had been accepted. Also, is it possible that other journals are not considering expedite requests unless they receive the automated acknowledgement of the offer?

One possibility is that the article just wasn't that good and that's why I had no other offers. Obviously, I don't think that is the case, but I will admit to being potentially biased about that. Another possibility is harmless error: the journal forgot to register their offer. But a third possibility exists: the journal did not register their offer knowing that it would make it much harder for me to expedite.

I sincerely hope that the third possibility is not true. Any thoughts?

Posted by: confused | Mar 13, 2013 11:06:39 AM

TJ,

Interesting point. I still wonder if people expediting on Expresso will think that they got their expedite worth by using the workaround (i.e. selecting "prefer not to disclose"), but the Expresso law reviews will pay less attention than usual because the expedite lacks the full signaling effect (again, because it says the other "prefers not to disclose"). This would put Scholastica law reviews in the position of being able to allow for expedites without running the full risk of expedites - and people will continue to submit to Scholastica on the assumption that the "Expresso workaround" is good enough.

Posted by: Michael Helfand | Mar 13, 2013 11:14:39 AM

@confused, I expedited off an offer on Expresso and got a message that some journals require certification-- would I like to request that the offering journal certify? I said yes, and later that day got certification. I got another offer through Expresso a couple days later and again, requested and received certification. I noticed later, however, that the second journal set the certification with the agreed-upon deadline, while the first journal (mistakenly I'm sure) set the offer to expire on the same day it began (i.e. offer 3/9 to expire 3/9). I think that's one of several glitches-- doesn't explain what happened to you but your journal might have made a similar error.

Posted by: anne VAPaway | Mar 13, 2013 12:56:50 PM

Confused, on the angsting thread there was a question about whether when you click "please certify" ExpressO held your expedite request to all journals until the offering journal had certified. I don't recall an answer to that. It's possible that ExpressO does hold the expedite request if you ask for certification, in which case the offering journal could accidentally (or intentionally?) reduce your expedite window by failing to certify in a timely manner.

Posted by: BG | Mar 13, 2013 3:13:26 PM

I wish I had known that I was supposed to request a certification from the journal. My fault I suppose for not realizing that something was missing. Live and learn.

Posted by: confused | Mar 13, 2013 3:16:28 PM

You didn't have to request certification unless you were expediting to the small handful of journals that required it. Sounds like this wasn't the problem you experienced.

Posted by: BG | Mar 13, 2013 3:23:02 PM

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