This year, in addition to ExpressO, email, website submission, Redyip, and printed copies, we’ve a new way to deliver our articles to their ultimate masters: Scholastica. You may have learned about Scholastica when your favorite law review wrote you to inform you that they were exclusively taking submissions through that system, or when your associate dean told you that the institution would prefer not to pay pay more per submission than ExpressO for a substantially similar service.
Here are some key things you might not know:
- As far as I can tell only two of the top fifty journals – NYU and Iowa – are exclusive to Scholastica. “Exclusive” for other journals appears to mean “we’d prefer.”
- Scholastica is very hostile to the currently way that legal scholarship is selected — they push double-blind peer review and don’t very much like student editing. This isn’t surprising, because as far as I can tell, none of the developers went to law school, served on a law review, or writes for legal audiences. They are, respectively, a sociology graduate student, a former historian, and a political scientist. There are many things one could say in defense of our current multiple-submission, student-selection, system. None appear on the Scholastica page.
- Scholastica asks for your sexual orientation and other demographic information (include a free-form place to talk about “additional comments that demonstrate diversity”) and then provides that information to each submitting journals that request it. Apparently the theory is that journals will want to take identity politics into account when making selection decisions. [For more, see blackman's post on this topic, which I hadn't seen before writing this.]
- Did I mention that Scholastica is more expensive that ExpressO and infinitely more expensive than emailing the journal directly?
I think Scholastica might be a good deal for journals – it takes care of publishing problems, and it will significantly reduce the flow of submissions. I can also see why graduate students from other disciplines would find our tiny corner of the world to be odd. But I don’t see why anyone would ever submit through their system unless absolutely forced to, especially when they appear determined to import some unattractive aspects of other disciplines into legal academic publishing, which is already quite ugly.
What I don’t particularly understand is why faculty of the institutions running law reviews which are now exclusive to Scholastica are permitting this radical turn, which almost certainly will result in more concentration of prestige publication in the hands of prestige authors (who have the money to pay for multiple submissions at $5.00 each). Er. Reading that sentence again, I guess I understand after all.
That all said, Scholastica, please don’t lose my submission to NYU! I’ve never even gotten a rejection from those folks – maybe this year you can gin one up?