Does Pre-Publishing on SSRN Promote or Reduce the Chances of Law Review Acceptance?
Brian Tamanaha has a useful post on Balknization arguing that we should fight the power of super-elite law review placement.
Once we accept this reality, it becomes clear that the only solution for the “unfairness” in the process (though “unfairness” is the wrong word) is to come to a collective recognition that the placement of an article is not itself a measure of its quality. Law professors often say this, but deep down they don’t really believe it because elite journals have magical names.
A good, thoughtful, comment thread emerged from this post. Malla Pollack, of the Barkley School of Law, dissents from the (common) idea that putting works up on SSRN promotes the likelihood of acceptance, writing:
“Lower ranked” professors commonly believe that pre-publishing a piece on line (SSRN or their own home page) kills the chance of placement in a journal. They publish on SSRN only after receiving a bid from a law review and getting the review’s approval.
I hold the opposite view, and know of only one or two journals that believe publication on SSRN is pre-emptive (and to those journals I say: nuts to you.) But it is an interesting question whether folks generally think that SSRN retards publication or promotes it. Take a poll, and let’s find out what a not-so-random sample of the academy thinks.