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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is There an Expresso Effect?

Just a quick post to get a sense of whether the prawfs and law review articles editors out there are finding that the advent of Expresso has led to a huge increase in submissions. My own anecdotal evidence: when I was an editor at HLR around 1998-2000, my recollection is that we received somewhere between 1200-1600 submissions a year. If we published 12-16 articles a year, then that would be a 1% acceptance rate at that particular journal; I'm not sure if we lost any articles to Yale LJ, so the publication and acceptance rates would be close to the same.

Lately, I'm hearing that the numbers of submissions to top law reviews have at least doubled. The ding I got from Stanford not long ago suggested they were getting over 3000 submissions. If that's true, then that makes the likely acceptance rate a fraction of what it was just 8 years ago. One reason could be that in the last 8 years we have witnessed a dramatic improvement in the scholarly cultures of law schools such that more people are writing and more people are submitting more articles. But another reason could be that Expresso effectively makes it costless and easy to bombard law review editors with papers that one might have in an earlier age restricted to a smaller number of law reviews.  I imagine there is some good data to be had. Anyone know if this is true and if so, to what extent?

Feel free to use this thread's comments to ventilate any interesting submission tales from this cycle, which I suspect and hope is still ongoing -- though I've heard nervous chatter that people think the cycle began a few weeks early this year and that volumes are already filling up.

Posted by Administrators on March 18, 2008 at 05:43 PM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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As a new and very junior prawf at a lower-tier school, I probably speak for others in a similar position when I say that we know (from reading the literature out there - articles, blawgs etc.) that we have a miniscule chance of being published in a top-tier journal. A big question is usually "how many journals should I try to submit to?" i.e., be realistic and limit submissions to "likely to give me a shot" journals, or widen the circle and "shoot for the moon"? The ExpressO effect not only makes it easier to submit to many more journals (as does, in some way, emailing off the W&L lists), but if we *think* lots of folks are submitting to lots more journals, we just might join in so as to be in at least a similar position as to number of submissions, vis-a-vis our peers.

Posted by: Junior Prof | Mar 20, 2008 9:37:21 AM

I also think the now 3 year or so old rules about length of articles mean more articles are accepted (because they're shorter) so more are submitted. ExpressO probably have the most to do with it though. I was also a top 15-20 articles editor, but around 4-5 years ago, and we received about 1,200 submissions. We weren't yet on ExpressO, but I believe the journal is now. I bet the editors there now pine after the good ol' days of "only" 1,200 papers to read.

Posted by: anon | Mar 19, 2008 10:20:26 AM

I'm at a top 15-20 journal/school, and we're getting well over 2000 submissions. Don't know if it's from ExpressO or increased faculty productivity, but if we're beating HLR from 10 years ago, submissions are surely up everywhere. And we're nowhere near full: a lot of our best articles keep getting stolen by journals higher up the food chain.

Posted by: articles editor | Mar 19, 2008 1:34:39 AM

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