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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ExpressO Delivery Confirmations

At the short-lived Anonymous Articles Editors Blog that popped up last March, a law professor left the following comment:

I and at least one colleague at my top tier law school submitted paper copies by mail this go-round because we perceived a break-down in the electronic system last fall, with articles submitted by ExpressO never even downloaded by most journals.

This comment seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the information that ExpressO gives to authors, but it reflects a flaw in the ExpressO delivery system that would be easy to fix.  The "Author's View of Delivery" page on ExpressO gives four columns of information for each journal:  (1) Delivery Date (the date the author hits "submit"), (2) Confirmation of Receipt, (3) Expedite Date, and (4) Withdraw Request.  The Confirmation of Receipt column is misleading.  When a journal editor opens a submitted article, the editor apparently is given an option to send a confirmation receipt to the author.  If the editor clicks that option, then the date appears for that journal's row in the confirmation of receipt column.  Many journals don't click on the confirmation receipt option, which creates the impression in authors that the journals haven't received the article.  I only figured out the significance of the column by getting rejections (many) and acceptances (one) from journals that had not sent receipt confirms.   The ambiguity about delivery stresses out law profs in a big way, and leads to misperceptions like the one reflected in the comment above.

In the short term, it would be very positive for law prof wellbeing if all journals would click on the confirm option.  In the long term, ExpressO should modify its system to report delivery to the author as soon as the article is opened by a journal.  I can't think of any good reason why this information should not be made available to authors automatically.

Ben Barros

Posted by propertyprof on July 29, 2008 at 11:13 AM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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As a former Articles Editor, I can say that it is pain to download and print articles from ExpressO. I usually gave more attention to articles that were submitted via mail.

Posted by: Former Articles Editor | Jul 29, 2008 11:38:08 PM

On my Law Review, we usually try to 'confirm' the receipt but some articles do not get 'confirmed,' even though they're read.

Also, with a couple hundred articles that sat unread for a period of two weeks or so during the transition between the old board and the new board, we never confirmed receipt. We did this because, from our end, ExpressO looks like it sends an author an email when her article is received/confirmed, and we didn't want authors to think that their articles had not been received until two weeks after their submission.

Knowing now that authors can see a table with that information, we'll definitely try to confirm all articles from now on.

Posted by: Articles Editor | Jul 29, 2008 12:00:56 PM

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