August 05, 2012
Who wants to help me make "Law Profs in Loafers getting Lattes"?
The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new web-series from Jerry Seinfeld which is titled "Comedians in Cars getting Coffe." While I am certain that watching law professors walk to a coffee shop will be much less entertaining than what Seinfeld is creating, I am also certain that I would rather enjoy watching the likes of, say, Larry Tribe and Cass Sunstein walking to Harvard Square to grab a cup of joe. (Or, better yet in the hope of getting this post linked by some of the most popular law prof bloggers, perhaps the first episodes should feature Eugene Volokh with Orin Kerr and Ann Althouse with Paul Caron and Dan Markel with Dan Solove.)
I think I am (nearly) serious about the notion of creating a web-series with talking and walking law profs, so anyone with some venture capital (or a good video camera and some web skills) ought to contact me. For the time being as I think about how to get this project off the ground, perhaps readers can recommend sets of law profs they would like to see paired together for a trip to Starbucks.
Posted by DAB
September 21, 2011
What are the best (and worst) law review websites?
At a production meeting for the Ohio State specialty journal for which I serve as a faculty editor, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, I told the senior student editors that I believed OSJCL has one of the very best, if not the best, journal website I know. Here are some of the reasons I make this claim:
1. All of the OSJCL's content is fully available on-line and for free, and new content from new issues are put up on this website even before the hard-copy journal gets into circulation.
3. The OSJCL website has some additional content beyond the journal's print materials via a special section called OSJCL Amici: Views from the Field.
4. The OSJCL website includes this page with simple instructions for those interested in submitting drafts for publication consideration and this page with simple instructions (and an on-line form) concerning about subscriptions.
Because a few additional pages of the website are not always subject to timely updating, I think there is still room for improvement at the OSJCL journal website. Still, because primary hard-copy content is king and because that part of the website is always easy to navigate and completely free to access, I am still prepared to put the OSJCL site in a top tier of law journal websites.
Can readers report other journal websites they really like and/or mention specific features of a journal's website that is especially valuable? Alternatively, if folks want to call out terrible journal websites or problematic feature of some sites, that would be cool, too.
Posted by DAB
May 28, 2009
Free Law Review Article Submission System: LexOpus
I post details from an email I received from John Doyle at Washington and Lee:
LexOpus (http://lexopus.wlu.edu) is a recently launched service at Washington and Lee Law School offering free online submissions to law journals. The service has two facets:
1) An author can make an article available to all interested law journals, inviting journals to make offers. Journals are able to limit by subject matter the articles that they see as open to offers.
2) An author can make offers to law journals in an author-specified journal list, LexOpus making on behalf of the author a short-term exclusive offer to each law journal in sequence. For non-peer-reviewed journals 'short term' is one week. Author offers continue past each journal's exclusive period, on a non-exclusive basis, until rejected by the journal or withdrawn by the author, but any journal with an exclusive period always has acceptance priority.
An author can make a work 'open to offers' as well as submit to specific journals, or can do one or the other. As the system does permit uploading of revisions authors might make working papers open to offers and then, if no acceptable offers have been received, when the finished work is available submit that version to specific law journals.
Works can be suppressed from public view if the author so desires.
April 22, 2009
Too much of a good thing at the new site The Legal Workshop?
I am pleased to report on a new scholarly on-line project (which I hope will evolve to better achieve its laudatory goals). The project is the Legal Workshop, and here is its basic mission statement:
The Legal Workshop is a website providing a single online forum for cutting-edge legal scholarship from the top law journals in the country....
The Legal Workshop features “op-ed” versions of the articles published by the member journals. These concise and lively pieces are written for a generalist audience, combining the best elements of print and online publication.
Each Legal Workshop Editorial undergoes the same rigorous editorial treatment and quality screening as the journals’ print content, but readers are able to offer comments and esteemed academics have the option of submitting response pieces, which are checked for citations and substance.
By aggregating the work of multiple law reviews, The Legal Workshop is able to provide frequently updated content. New article-based content is posted every Monday and most Wednesdays and Fridays. The Legal Workshop provides a one-stop forum for readers wishing to stay abreast of contemporary legal scholarship.
Larry Solum has a terrific early analysis here, which includes these three spot-on reactions:
First, the basic idea of creating an outlet for short-form legal scholarship is to be applauded....
Second, I am a bit skeptical of the ambitious claims in the press release about reaching "the general public."...
Third, I am also skeptical about potential for the format of "The Legal Workshop" to produce pieces that will directly influence practitioners -- lawyers and judges, who are most interested in descriptive doctrinal scholarship.
The fact that there is currently only this single criminal law piece now posted on the site, and that it runs nearly 4000 words and proposes a radical change to modern habeas law, confirms all that Larry has to say about this new project. It is great to have a short-form version of this 70-page habeas article from the Duke Law Review, but I doubt that either the general public or practitioners are going to find the short-form version much more useful and accessible than the long form version.
Plus, on a very practical level, I will be much less likely to cite the short-form version of the article inbecause its cite form -- which much include this cumbersome URL: http://legalworkshop.org/2009/03/18/habeas-corpus-and-state-sentencing-reform-a-story-of-unintended-consequences -- is much longer than the cite form for the full article.
Posted by DAB
October 21, 2008
The University of Louisville's law faculty SSRN aggregator page
The University of Louisville is justifiably proud of its law faculty and of the high-impact academic work generated by this community of scholars. In earlier posts (like this and this and this), The Cardinal Lawyer has made much of SSRN.Despite its small size, and despite having taken active part in SSRN for less than two years, the University of Louisville ranks 41st among American law schools in recent SSRN downloads and 57th in all-time downloads as of October 12, 2008.
Many law professors and some law schools make an effort to promote papers available for download from SSRN. The University of Louisville has taken aggressive measures to promote its entire faculty's SSRN portfolio. Louisville publishes an SSRN aggregator page that collects every faculty member's contributions to the SSRN database as they are made. A summary of each article, complete with a link to that article's own SSRN page, appears on the aggregator page. And best of all, in harmony with Law 2.0 and the thoroughly interconnected environment in which contemporary legal education operates, the University of Louisville's faculty SSRN aggregator page has its own RSS feed .
ouisville's own SSRN aggregator page complements but does not replace the University of Louisville School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series on SSRN. This series has its own subscription mechanism. Like other subscribers, I receive periodic updates by e-mail and can click through to my colleagues' most recent work.
One byproduct of Louisville's faculty-wide SSRN aggregator is an individual SSRN aggregator page for each member of the faculty. Consider, for example, the SSRN treasure troves associated with my colleague, Judith D. Fischer. Judy's University of Louisville-generated SSRN aggregator page and regular SSRN page testify to a prolific and creative mind. For my own part, I am considering the possibility of linking to my own UofL-generated SSRN aggregator page wherever I have already seen fit to promote my regular SSRN page. Through its facility with scripts and feeds, Louisville's information technology staff has given the entire faculty many weapons for heightening awareness, within the academy and among members of the public at large, of the powerful legal scholarship being generated at the University of Louisville.
— Jim Chen
August 18, 2008
Real-world experiences with open access publishing
For anyone interested in open access law reviews, Gregory S. McNeal's experience with Northwestern Law Review is worth reading. Prof. McNeal (Dickinson School of Law, Penn State) needed to push an article out into the public before the topic was moot and found that e-publishing was the best way to go. It seems like was able to get timely publication without sacrificing peer review, with reader comments added on as bonus.
- Thoughts on Innovation in Law Review Publishing (Part 1 of 2) (specific experience with Nw.U.L.Review)
"What really struck me about going through this process was how much sense it makes, and how innovative it is... the editors' comments were extremely helpful, and their preference for links to on-line sources (which they include in the Footnotes of the on-line version) will mean that other scholars can instantly trace the authorities I relied upon and integrate them into their forthcoming scholarship."
Thoughts on Innovation in Law Review Publishing (Part 2 of 2)
(recommendations for schools and their journals)
"What law reviews should instead do is accept articles throughout the year based on editorial availability (e.g. available workers). The law reviews should establish their own guidelines for when they will accept submissions (not driven by a system wide calendar). In fact, I believe it is in a law review’s best interest to accept submissions year round because it may allow them to publish articles by notable scholars whom they otherwise may not be able to publish if limiting themselves to a regimated calendar dominated by expedite requests."
- The article: Beyond Guantánamo, Obstacles and Options
- Gene Koo
May 21, 2008
Harvard University Press to publish open access, peer-reviewed journal
Harvard University Press has unveiled its deal to publish the open access, peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Analysis. This development is interesting not just in piling on to the open access movement, or pushing peer review into legal academia, but because it raises some fascinating questions about the role of university presses in the digital age. HUP, like its peers, is an arm of a nonprofit institution, so it is under different pressures than the for-profit press. On the other hand, sales of paper publications still generate revenue... so what happens to publishers and journals when "publication" is both digital and open?
- Gene Koo
May 07, 2008
Harvard votes YES to open access scholarship
Harvard Law School's faculty unanimously last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free. The school's announcement, issued today, notes that Harvard is the first law schol to make this commitment to open access. (Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences had also voted unanimously for open access in February.)
Joe asked what new innovations we might expect with the appointment of John Palfrey to Harvard's newly created position of Associate Dean of Library and Information Resources. Here is what he had to say about this new development:
This exciting development is something in which the whole Harvard Law School community can take great pride... The acceptance of open access ensures that our faculty's world-class scholarship is accessible today and into the future. I look forward to the work of implementing this commitment.
Law schools, quite unlike almost every other academic institution in the United States, occupy an enviable position because we almost all have retained full rights and permissions to our own scholarship. For all the grumbling faculty occasionally evince about student- rather than peer-edited journals, this has also proven a tremendous advantage for schools, as there are no contracts and rights to negotiate with third-party publishers. Thus legal scholarship has the potential to leap forward by large bounds with policies like Harvard's in place.
Update: Dean Wayne Miller correctly points out that Duke Law School has been pushing the Open Access agenda in their journals since 1997 and for all faculty scholarship since 2005. See his comment for more information, citations, etc.
December 05, 2007
Harvard Law Library's InfoAdvantage
Harvard Law Library is piloting a way to push specific books, articles, and other resources selected carefully by law librarians directly into each law class's online learning portal. (Sorry to publish a second post about Harvard in one week). Librarians assemble collections of materials into topical bundles that update across all classes -- essentially functioning as learning objects. The basic content is open to all Harvard students.
What I find particularly interesting about this effort is that the librarians are taking the initiative here and letting professors opt out of the program, rather than requiring profs to affirmatively opt in. (They attempted the latter last year and got few responses).
Also worth noting is that the library is using the same platform (a home-grown learning management system called iSites) to serve as a research repository where faculty, assistants, and librarians virtually aggregate research. In many ways, this is potentially pointing the way towards a research management system not unlike those used by litigation teams.
I suspect that Harvard's is not the only law library serving in this capacity, and would love to find out about other, similar initiatives elsewhere.
October 03, 2007
Do we want on-line production and/or faculty-edited journals to bring the demise of traditional law reviews?
Larry Solum, Paul Caron and others (myself included) have written thoughtfully about the future of legal scholarship, justifiably focusing on the impact of technology on traditional forms of law review production and dissemination. Somewhat less discussed, though perhaps no less important, is a seemingly growing interest among legal scholars to cultivate faculty-edited journals as an alternative to traditional student-edited law reviews. (This recent announcement that Harvard Law School professors are launching a new faculty-edited journal, to be called the Journal of Legal Analysis, is Exhibit A documenting this trend.)
Though many are now noticing and effectively describing the modern (and rapid?) evolution of legal scholarship, I have still seen relatively little normative analysis of these trends. Specifically, I wonder if readers think we should embrace or resist movement away from traditional student-edited law reviews as the primary outlet for legal scholarship.
Perhaps because I am a blogger and an editor of two distinct peer-review journals (the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law), I tend to endorse the modern migration away from traditional student-edited law reviews. That said, I hope (and expect) that student-edited law reviews will always play a significant role in the universe of legal scholarship. I also suspect that the work of promotion and tenure committees will be the most important "market force" shaping these realities.
Posted by DAB
June 26, 2007
Perils of Web 2.0 scholarship?
Apropos to the preceding post, a firestorm has been brewing around this proto-article: viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace, which was posted to the author's blog as a non-academic essay. The author, a Ph.D. candidate at UC-Berkeley, muses on the essay's reception, which became amplified partly because the MSM (particularly the BBC) presented it as a data-backed study, which it is not (yet).
It strikes me that the culture of Web 2.0 (prototype and release early, build buzz and community, revise revise revise) is butting up against the culture of academic publishing (print what you can prove, peer review, cite sources). What are the pros and cons of each? On the one hand, putting out hypotheses early and getting lots of feedback and being able to iterate with a large constituency strikes me as a good way to align academic work with public interest and need (and in that respect reflects business's best practices for product development). On the other hand, there's considerable danger of propogating misinformation if the MSM or others treat proto-articles as final works (which they are wont to do, for scooping purposes).
When do you as an academic blogger feel that your work is sufficiently "ripe" to put on your blog? Or do you very carefully delineate between blogging and publishing?
- Gene Koo
Evaluate Me!: Conflicted Thoughts on Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship's New Age
Law prof Paul Horwitz has deposited in SSRN 'Evaluate Me!": Conflicted Thoughts on Gatekeeping in Legal Scholarship's New Age. About this work, he writes
This short contribution to the Connecticut Law Review's new online supplement, CONNtemplations, offers some thoughts on status and gatekeeping in the online age of legal scholarship. Bloggers, SSRN, and online law review supplements like this one have increasingly routed around and weakened, if not undermined, the traditional gatekeepers who certified legal scholars and their scholarship. Is this a good thing?
The paper proceeds by examining this question in light of a pair of opposing views and values. The first is Julius Getman's discussion of the eternal tension between elitism and egalitarianism in the life of the scholar. The second is a pair of comments on the role of blogs and other online media in legal scholarship - a positive and optimistic comment by Larry Solum, and a more pessimistic and critical view presented by Brian Leiter. Ultimately, I tend to agree with Solum's optimistic view: the online age has provided new thinkers and writers with multiple routes around the old gatekeepers, and this development should be welcomed.
At the same time, I suggest candidly that many legal scholars who have benefited from blogs and other online media (including myself) have used those new media to seek certification and enhanced status from the same traditional gatekeepers that we have criticized. In Getman's terms, we have talked egalitarianism and done elitism. The old tension continues. I link this tension to a variety of broader phenomena: the insecurity of the legal academic, the legal academy's increasing fixation with rankings, and the economy of prestige.
April 24, 2007
A notable journal-blog cooperative
Dan Solove has announced in this post a very intriguing new endeavor at Concurring Opinions, entitled "Law Review Forum Project." Here are the basics from Dan's announcement:
I am very pleased to announce a new project here at Concurring Opinions – the Law Review Forum Project. We will be hosting online forums for several law reviews. Increasingly, law reviews are creating online forums as companions to their regular law review issues. These forums contain very short response pieces, essays, debates, and other works that attempt to bridge the gap between regular legal scholarship and the blogosphere.... Throughout the year, each law review will periodically post forum essays here at Concurring Opinions. We are not requiring an exclusive license, so participating law reviews can also cross-post at their own websites.
We see this as a mutually-beneficial arrangement. We can bring great content to our blog, and law reviews can reach our significant audience without the pressures of having to build and maintain an online readership or of having to produce content with regularity.
Law reviews currently with and without existing forums will be participating. Thus far, the following law reviews have agreed to participate:
* Harvard Law Review
* Virginia Law Review
* Michigan Law Review
* University of Pennsylvania Law Review
* Northwestern Law Review
* UCLA Law Review
* George Washington Law Review
In the near future, we hope to be expanding the list of participating law reviews.
Very interesting. I look forward to seeing this project unfold and also seeing if Concurring Opinions will lose some of its distinctiveness if it ends up becoming a regular conduit for online forums for many law reviews.
February 21, 2007
AALS 2007 Meeting Available on PodcastAs per an AALS email from Annette Headley: AALS and the Center for Computer- Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) have teamed up once again to extend the reach of the AALS Annual Meeting by making digital audio recordings (podcasts) of over 120 sessions at the meeting. CALI, is a non-profit organization with the mission to use technology to enhance legal education. For more information on CALI, click here. Not everyone can attend every session, but now you can listen to over 200 hours of presentations, for free, from any web-connected PC. Additionally, faculty can download recordings to their MP3 players and listen to them while doing other things. Click here for more information on listening and downloading the AALS Annual Meeting Podcasts. AC
February 14, 2007
Yet another on-line law journal supplement
Thanks to Brian Leiter, I now see that the Texas Law Review has joined the club of leading law review with an on-line supplement. This one is called "See Also" and is visually colored in a warn to warm the heart of every Longhorn. Here's the official description:
See Also is an online companion to the Texas Law Review that presents responses and critiques of recently published articles in the Review. For each issue of the Review, See Also features responses from members of the academic community and practitioners, styled as op-ed pieces, in order to promote further discussion of the topics addressed in the Review. In addition, See Also provides a forum for our readers to offer their own thoughts and perspectives.
Some related posts:
Posted by DAB
January 24, 2007
On-line law review companions: too much of a good thing?
As I have noted over at my home blog, it seems that nearly every high-profile law journal now has a high-profile on-line companion. As Orin Kerr spots here, the Virginia Law Review has now joined the club with its new (and slick-looking) In Brief. Orin is also asking all the right questions about this innovation:
I'd be very interested to hear from [students who are on journals that recently added online companions] as to whether the online versions have proved worthwhile. How much traffic are these sites drawing? What formats are working or not working?
Comments to Orin's post are already intriguing and I hope to see more there and perhaps here. I would also be interested to hear, of course, from law professors about whether they enjoy writing for this new kind of forum and whether they believe that such writing is generally "counted" in any assessment of their scholarly productivity.
November 20, 2006
Student blogging as an educational experience
Here's an open question following on DAB's earlier referral to the excellent discussion going on about how blogs change legal education. I am curious to what extent law professors are blogging with their students, and how that works as an educational experience (as opposed to blogging yourself, or independent student blogging).
One way in which you might do this would be through an official class assignment. The point here would be less about producing "useful" legal scholarship as for students to engage with course material. For example, recently a Brandeis University professor presented a short talk at the Berkman Center describing how he turned around the practice of podcasting in his undergraduate class from him talking at students to students talking with each other -- a practice well in line with today's theories of how learners actively construct rather than passively receive knowledge. (And, as a practical matter, he found that students would actually download and listen to each others' podcasts while they largely ignored his -- perhaps partly because students better understand that a six-minute chat is far more palatable than a 50-minute lecture).
Another possibility is blogging as collaborative project between professors and students. For example, Ben Spencer of Split Circuits forwards the day's Westlaw alerts to his research assistants, who find and summarize cases relevant to the blog's subject matter. Like research assistants everywhere, these law students receive mentorship (Ben reviews their posts for relevance, importance, accuracy, and completeness), in the process learning-by-doing what makes a case "important" and how to find and highlight those parts. What's especially interesting about this model is that it enables students to contribute directly to a vital part of the academic discourse while learning at the same time.
The RA’s have been thrilled with the opportunity to stay abreast of developments in the law in a way they otherwise would not experience. They have grown much more knowledgeable about contemporary federal procedural issues of importance and are better able to discuss these and incorporate them into their own writing. Hopefully it will also enhance their experience at law firms and with clerkships.
How many of you ask your students to blog as part of their educational experience?