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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Submission angsting thread, Fall 2014

It has been a semi-annual Prawfs tradition to provide a space for questions, answers, comments, complaints, and general angst about the article submission windows. (Dan spoke, and Matt still speaks, reverently of this as the time of Redyip's semi-annual return).

Either way, the "Fall" submission window is open and angsting may commence.

So, if you are an author or law review editor and want to share information about your submission experience to the law reviews, this is the place to do it. If you have questions about the process, this is the place to do it. Feel free to use the comments to share your information (and gripes or praise) about which journals you have heard from, which you have not, etc. Have at it. And do it reasonably nicely, pretty please.

Update: the last page of comments is here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 5, 2014 at 02:42 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


I'll share that the market fragmentation caused by Scholastica/Expresso stinks, especially for an August cycle where not all journals are open, and they are opening at the same time.

Competition is supposed to be good, I suppose. And Expresso has improved some things - like putting in a flag for declines, etc., which is something I recommended to them 8 or so years ago. But on the whole, I see costs rising, though maybe not if schools abandon all you can eat, without the benefits of some magically good platform or other benefit of a second service. We'll see how it shakes out in the end.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 5, 2014 3:01:29 PM

Submitted 8/5. Stealth ding from Maryland.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 5, 2014 3:53:06 PM

Oh, total stealth ding for me! Took me a few minutes to find it (see my comment on fragmentation).

Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 5, 2014 4:05:05 PM

Stealth ding, indeed!

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 5, 2014 4:17:12 PM

I must say I greatly prefer Scholastica's approach to consolidating status information on one screen. I wonder if the difference in user friendliness is as marked on the other end?

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 5, 2014 4:20:45 PM

Oooh....a stealth Maryland ding here too.

Posted by: Angsty | Aug 5, 2014 4:28:29 PM

T14 flagship EIC here. I'm happy to answer questions about our side of the process.

In response to despondanon: Yes. I have used both platforms and from a journal's perspective Scholastica is miles ahead in user friendliness and overall UI polish. I suspect this is the major reason for its increasing popularity.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 5, 2014 8:15:01 PM

Anona_Editor, what percentage of your slots are you filling in the fall? When do start reviewing and how quickly does your volume fill up? Thank you for answering.

Posted by: random prawf | Aug 5, 2014 9:17:07 PM

random prawf: We're filling a small minority of our slots in the Fall. I've gathered from speaking with peers that this is common. The majority of articles for most of our peer journals (at least those whose editors I have spoken to about this) are chosen in the spring. There are reasons to think that this might not be the case for lower-ranked or secondary journals, but I'm not sure.

We will start reviewing very soon. How quickly our volume will fill is difficult to predict. It will depend on what is submitted, what order we get to the articles in, how many of the pieces that we want end up leveraging their way up the journal-chain, and how much consensus we're able to reach as a board.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 5, 2014 9:45:30 PM

Anona-Editor - especially in the August compressed season, does your answer mean are you caring where an expedite comes from?

Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 5, 2014 9:57:44 PM

I'm running at little bit behind this submission season, when do you think is the last date to submit where I would still have good chance at an acceptance? Aug 15? would end of August still have any chance?

Posted by: rushingwriter | Aug 5, 2014 10:01:02 PM

Michael: We take note of where an expedite comes from in both the Spring and the Fall. It isn't determinative in any sense, but it does serve as a weak signal of quality.

rushingwriter: I think if you have a solid piece you will still have a good chance by Aug. 15. Obviously sooner is better, so keep on rushing.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 5, 2014 10:21:48 PM

anona-editor, thanks for the advice! just out of curiosity, what's the fastest anyone here has been able to write an article, start to finish?

Posted by: rushingwriter | Aug 5, 2014 11:12:21 PM

To clarify my last comment to Michael: The source of an expedite request really only informs the order we read pieces in. Generally, that means it won't make much difference. But when we have a hundred out-standing expedite deadlines to work through, it might mean we don't get to some before their deadlines expire.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 5, 2014 11:13:40 PM

Well, that was really the strategy question I was asking - when the window is short, as it is in the Fall, is one better off not expediting, or expediting and being behind those who expedite from higher ranked journals?

I've made my expedite bets this season - I'm just asking for a friend... and for the future. :)

Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 6, 2014 12:13:45 AM

Michael: At least as far as our selection process goes, you're always better with an expedite request than without. This is true in both the Spring and Fall.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 6, 2014 12:26:46 AM

Baylor ding. Submitted 8/1.

Posted by: Andonanon | Aug 6, 2014 12:56:58 AM

Another Baylor rejection here, also Iowa. I have an offer from a school in the 80-100 range.

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 6, 2014 10:46:49 AM

Thanks, Anona_editor - helpful.

Posted by: Michael Risch | Aug 6, 2014 10:48:21 AM

Despondanon: when did you submit and when did you receive your offer?

Posted by: Andonanon | Aug 6, 2014 10:53:05 AM

Submitted 7/31 and 8/1. Dings from 3 places already mentioned. Silence from everywhere else. Starting to get antsy/angsty. I've never done the August submission before and it seems very slow. Will it pick up?

Posted by: anon | Aug 6, 2014 10:59:35 AM

I submitted between 7/31 and 8/4, and I received the offer on 8/5. It is the second quickest offer I've ever received. Usually it takes at least a couple of weeks for me. I also received a rejection from Chicago this morning.

Before yesterday I'd never noticed this language on Expresso's expedite instruction screen: "Repeat as your paper climbs the law review ranks." Does anyone else find that instruction depressingly cynical?

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 6, 2014 12:20:42 PM

Is anyone else experiencing a delay with ExpressO? I submitted yesterday, got the e-mail confirmation, but the law review delivery list on the "submission details" page is still empty. Contacted support, but am not that hopeful that they will get back to me in a timely fashion.

Posted by: anothersubmitter | Aug 6, 2014 1:36:17 PM

Maryland stealth ding. Dead silence everywhere else. 8/4 submission.

Posted by: KTT | Aug 6, 2014 1:51:27 PM

This is my first experience with the Fall cycle. It's seems difficult to time, because with fewer slots, you don't want to submit late if things fill up quickly. But at the same time, if you submit too early, any expedite opportunities might be wasted because too few journals are actively reviewing. What is the conventional wisdom on timing? Anona-Editor, what is your opinion on timing? Also for Anona-Editor - what is your opinion on expedites based on offers from specialty journals? Thanks for participating, it's very helpful.

Posted by: GEL | Aug 6, 2014 2:47:04 PM

anothersubmitter, I didn't notice that particular delay, but I have had other confusing/apparently delayed interactions with Expresso over the past few days. It's distressing.

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 6, 2014 3:14:35 PM

For me, Scholastica is delayed. I had offers show up on Scholastica but didn't get the emails until several hours later. It also takes quite a while to get confirmation emails from Scholastica. Pretty much every time.

Posted by: Andonanon | Aug 6, 2014 3:20:41 PM

GEL: My opinion on timing is that you should try your best to get extensions until at least the middle or latter-third of August. Some journals are just now opening submissions. Others haven't really started to delve into the hundreds of articles they're going to have to sort through. Unless you're quite happy (or ambivalent) about placement in the journal where you've received the offer (or if you really need to secure another publication for a tenure/promotion package) I would hesitate to lock-in anything before at least mid-month. The worst case scenario is that you overplay your hand and have to re-submit the piece in the Spring, when I think most authors' odds are better anyway.

How I interpret expedites from specialty journals depends on the journal (which for the most part means it depends on the school that publishes the journal). I know for a fact that some specialty journals are desperate for content, and have to give many offers to publish for each piece that they secure. So an expedite from some journals doesn't serve as strong of a quality signal as some other expedites. At my journal we try to look at as many pieces as we can, so if we can fit these pieces into our process without killing ourselves, we will do so. However, if it is a short expedite and we're going to have to bend-over backwards to fit it in, we might just pass on it.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 6, 2014 3:37:03 PM

Anona_Editor: How do you prioritize non-expedited pieces? In order of arrival? By letterhead? (And, relatedly, how important is one's letterhead?)

Posted by: Nona | Aug 6, 2014 4:47:15 PM

Nona: Good questions. For the most part non-expedited pieces are prioritized based on order of arrival. But some of our members keep an eye on the queue and if they see something that looks particularly good, they might flag it and it might get bumped up the queue.

One's letterhead isn't a deal maker or a deal breaker, but I would be lying if I said I thought it didn't make a difference. I've tried to counsel readers not to rely on institutional provenance in assessing pieces, but I'm sure they do to some extent. While I personally think this is unfortunate, I think the only way around it would be to institute some form of blind (preferably peer) review, and that's unlikely to happen as long as simultaneous submission is the norm.

Posted by: Anona_Editor | Aug 6, 2014 5:00:20 PM

Cardozo ding--in a nice touch, however, the rejection email listed the other journals at Cardozo and suggested submitting there. Thoughtful and classy, Cardozo!

Posted by: angsty | Aug 7, 2014 8:40:22 AM

For those who got dinged by Maryland, I don't think it was a real ding. I submitted yesterday and Maryland was closed for business. I find it hard to believe they were reviewing articles and are now already done. My guess is that an editor accidentally left the account open and then closed it when he or she saw things coming in. It would be nice if expresso could do a better job of ensuring journals are actually open, or plan to review new submissions in the future, before it takes your money.

Posted by: annon | Aug 7, 2014 9:31:23 AM

Also Baylor ding by e-mail.

Re: annon, above, I tend to agree about the Maryland ding. They've been good in the past about real rejections, so I think Expresso listing them as open must have been error.

Posted by: KTT | Aug 7, 2014 10:53:21 AM

Cardozo rejection here, too, plus NYU rejection.

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 7, 2014 3:20:18 PM

Anona-Editor - thanks again for your help. Would you please describe your journal's process? How do you assign the initial reading? How many layers of review does a manuscript go through before an offer of publication is made, and how long does the process take usually? Must the vote be unanimous/majority/super-majority?

Also, I'm wonder if you what you think helps a manuscript get noticed. Topic? Timeliness? Catchy title? Cover letter?

Posted by: GEL | Aug 7, 2014 7:14:17 PM

I'm relatively new at this and have a question regarding expediting and Expresso. I received an offer earlier this week that was to expire on Friday 08/08. I was able to get an extension from the offering journal. I informed the journals I sent expedite requests to of the extension. However, the offering journal has not updated the deadline in their Expresso offer. Do I need to contact them to have the Expresso offer updated so it does not look as if it has expired on Expresso when it has not? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: anon0807 | Aug 7, 2014 8:14:04 PM

This season is frustratingly slow for me. Submitted on 8/1 to top 50 journals that are open. I received the Maryland stealth rejection, as did everyone else, and Chicago. And that's it. I'm used to far more activity. Within a week of submission, I usually accumulate a half a dozen rejections an maybe an offer or at least a full board read email.

Posted by: slow | Aug 7, 2014 8:20:30 PM

Columbia and Richmond dings today, submitted 8/1

Posted by: anon | Aug 7, 2014 8:43:30 PM

Iowa rejection this morning, submitted 7/25.

Posted by: angsty | Aug 8, 2014 9:57:09 AM

Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin rejections this morning, submitted 8/1

Posted by: slow | Aug 8, 2014 10:05:11 AM

NYU and Fordham Dings this morning (submitted 8/3); Dinged yesterday by Texas and Wisconsin (submitted 8/1).
Also had issues with delays on Expresso, but now it seems to be working fine.

Posted by: AnOfNon | Aug 8, 2014 10:34:32 AM

Anona_Editor (and others): I often hear the quip that "there's nothing to lose" in submitting in the Fall since one can always resubmit in the Spring. Logistically, can editors tell if an article has been rejected by a previous board? Do I at least need to change the title of the article if I resubmit in the Spring? Thanks.

Posted by: Junior Prof | Aug 8, 2014 10:56:55 AM

Submitted 8/8; immediate stealth ding from Washington & Lee.

Posted by: Nona | Aug 8, 2014 11:24:22 AM

Newbie question: I didn't put my abstract into the Expresso field, because I didn't want it going into their repository. It's on the first page of my manuscript - but obviously it doesn't show up in the Expresso submission details. (It also doesn't appear as though Expresso will let me put it in after submitting.) Does this matter? If so, should I withdraw and resubmit?

Posted by: Nona | Aug 8, 2014 1:18:38 PM

Nona: I would not withdraw and resubmit - I think that might just confuse the editors. I don't really think it's too big of a deal if you didn't put it in the form as long as you have it in the article.

Posted by: Andonanon | Aug 8, 2014 1:37:24 PM

Michigan State ding, submitted 8/7

Posted by: anon | Aug 8, 2014 3:21:56 PM

anon0807: I had that situation in the spring, and I didn't ask the journal to update the date. I just figured that if I had sent an expedite with a longer deadline than the date on Expresso, then those journals would understand that to mean I had received an extension. Most of them responded by the deadline I gave them, not the one on Expresso. That said, if you're worried or are afraid of an ambiguity, you could just ask the journal to update the date on Expresso. The student editors are generally very reasonable.

Posted by: angsty | Aug 8, 2014 4:21:04 PM

Submitted 8/8. Also got an insta-ding from Wasington & Lee, with an email though, not stealth. It was about five minutes, breaking my previous record.

Posted by: Not yet a prawf | Aug 8, 2014 4:58:35 PM

Submitted 8/8 - insta-ding from Washington & Lee - by email. Discouraging!

Posted by: Mojaveprof | Aug 9, 2014 12:38:43 AM

I submitted 8/1 and haven't gotten a w&l ding. What does this mean??

Posted by: Andonanon | Aug 9, 2014 12:55:30 AM

Maybe they are rejecting on a last-in, first-out basis. I also submitted 8/1 and haven't yet gotten a rejection from W&L.

Posted by: despondanon | Aug 9, 2014 10:29:04 AM

Submitted 8/5. Baylor ding same day. Offer from top 100 8/7. Expedited up around 30 slots. How many slots do people generally expedite?

Posted by: hopeful junior prof | Aug 9, 2014 1:19:01 PM

hopeful junior - I've done all the way and in waves. The most success I've had is waves. From T100 I'd go to up to and including 60 (so 40 slots).

Posted by: anonyprofs | Aug 9, 2014 3:18:11 PM

hopeful junior - I usually expedite all the way and then re-expedite if/when I get a better offer. And it's worked well. If you want to expedite in waves, I'd probably go all the way to top 30 or 40 since so many of the journals are already full.

Posted by: slow | Aug 9, 2014 3:28:59 PM

Submitted 7/31 and 8/1. Quiet at first, now up to 11 dings. Starting to panic.

Posted by: anon | Aug 9, 2014 5:37:46 PM

anon at 5:37: Yeah, I know. It's not fun. And in some sort of Expresso glitch, my SMU ding said that my article was called "Southern Methodist University Law Review." Catchy title idea, but talk about putting all your eggs in one basket . . .

Posted by: angsty | Aug 9, 2014 6:57:11 PM

Offer from top 50-100 mainline. More details to come.

Posted by: KTT | Aug 9, 2014 8:10:30 PM

So W&L did e-mail, just went to spam. Happily no other rejections there so far, and now I know to check.

I've seen dings on this or on fall commentary on the early angsting board from Baylor, Berkeley Bus, Cardozo, Case Western, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell Online, Fordham, Harv. J. of Legis, Iowa, (Maryland), Michigan State, NYU, Richmond, SMU, Texas, W&L, and Wisconsin. Am I missing any? Anyone else active?

Posted by: Nona | Aug 9, 2014 8:11:46 PM

Yale JREG rejection. Also, an offer from a top 50 journal.

Posted by: slow | Aug 9, 2014 8:19:42 PM

If I submitted in the first week of July, will the article be looked at? or will it be tossed with everything sent before 8/1?

Posted by: The Fox | Aug 9, 2014 11:33:45 PM

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