Law Reviews and Institutional Knowledge

Dave’s post and the comments about law reviews and customer service reminds me of a little something I picked up working with folks from the non-profit world. If you run something, don’t make it about you. Document what works and what doesn’t. Preserve institutional knowledge. Talk to the incoming folks about what you learned too. The new people will want to try new things, and they should. Nonetheless, the more a review/journal finds best practices and shares them with the incoming editors, the better it can mitigate the problems the high-turnover rate inherent in the system can cause. So if you ran a symposium and found out that one should plan five months or more in advance, need to book food/alcohol service in a special way, or there is some other quirk of bureaucracy to overcome, write that information down. Create a walk through of every aspect of taking an article in for review and finally publishing it. Analyze the way editors are trained.

You get the idea. The more you can capture and share the way your review works, the more the next group can build on what you accomplished rather than re-inventing the wheel. Last however one creates these documents (wikis, word files, etc.) be sure to save iterations. Knowledge can be lost while moving from version 1 to 2 or 3 or 4.

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