There’s a great discussion going on over at the Empirical Legal Studies blog, where legal scholars are thinking about the merits, problems and functions of law reviews. This forum was prompted by research by Jason Nance and Dylan Steinberg, “The Law Review Article Selection Process: Results from a National Study.” Many of the points apply equally well to scholarshp in Canada.
My thoughts parallel those of Benjamin Barton, who had this to say (in post #5, with emphasis added) on the incongruity of faculty complaints about student editors:
First, there are so many student-edited law reviews that it is not an exaggeration to say that virtually anything a law professor writes that is in English and makes some vague sense can and will be published. This is an enormous comparative advantage for a law faculty member over other disciplines, since a law professor can remain “productive” regardless of whether their work is relevant or even particularly good.
Second, having students edit most of the work means that law professors do not have to. Being a reviewer for a peer-edited journal (let alone being an editor) takes a great deal of time, and is in many ways a relatively thankless pain. The fact that student editors do the bulk of this work is a major benefit for law faculties.
Peer review in the law is an embarrassment to the discipline, and authors are coddled by overworked student editors who are intimidated by faculty. It needs to be fixed, and a look to how things are done in the humanities and social sciences would be a start – just make sure to take the open access path, so everyone can see the results of reform…
- Forum Post #6: Moving From Anecdote to Data
- Forum Post # 5: A Note on the Irony of Faculty Critiques of Student-Edited Law Reviews
- Forum Post #4: What is Right About Student-Edited Law Journals?
- Forum Post #3: Methodological Matters
- Forum Post #2: Some Context from the Authors
- Forum Post #1: Opening the Black Box of Law Review Selection
- Forum on the Law Review Selection Process