(Pre-)Expedited Review Question

I’ll be back to blogging about Silicon Valley, entrepreneurial finance, and corporate law in my next posts, but a recent entry over at The Faculty Lounge posed an interesting question that many of us might be thinking about during the law review submission season: How much information should authors give editors when seeking an expedited review? The prior post (and the interesting comments it generated) focused on whether authors should update an expedite request when new offers come in, even if it doesn’t change the deadline. I want to pose a different question: Do editors like it when authors tell them that so-and-so journal has selected the author’s piece for final review (which the journals usually let you know) and therefore an expedite request might be coming their way?

Speaking from personal experience, in the past I’ve encountered this situation twice, and both times the journals taking my piece to final review were in the top 20 (I mention this because it might make a difference in how the editors answer). I thought that letting the higher-ups know might attract some attention to my work (after all, the goal is getting pulled from the pile and read, right?), but also worried that these journals might not care if it wasn’t yet an offer – and worse yet, what if it didn’t become one? So the question boils down to: Does making it to final review stage with one (well-respected) journal generate sufficient buzz that it’s worth the risk of annoyance and no offer coming through? Also, how does the journal taking your piece to final review feel about this practice – if it finds out, would this potentially nix an offer? Wouldn’t want that. Editors: any advice would be appreciated!

UPDATE: In thinking through this some more after I posted, I realized that one reason to alert higher-ups at the final review stage rather than wait for the offer is precisely because an offer might not come. You still get what an expedite request provides (the higher-ups reading your piece) even if the original journal ultimately rejects you. All of which is evidence that this process will make you crazy if you let it, and a much better course of action is to submit and move on to new projects!

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Former Executive Articles Editor says:

    When I was on the editorial board for my law review (2007), we amended the submission guidelines to discourage authors from requesting expedited review in the absence of an actual offer. The reason is that we never actually accelerated our reading schedule except in response to either (1) finding out something substantive about the article that piqued our interest (e.g., in a blog post or conversation with someone), or (2) being forced to meet a new deadline for expedited review.

    So, I’d say that blogging prolifically about your latest article would probably be a more fruitful strategy!

  2. Another Former Articles Editor says:

    I was on the 2007 editorial board for one of the higher-ranked law reviews. Our policy was to accelerate our review of articles in response to final read notices from schools with very short offer windows (usually 3 days or less). I could tell you which ones those were 2 years ago, but I imagine the information is out-of-date since these things change from year to year.

    A safe bet is to ask the person who contacts you how long you would have to accept their offer. If the window is less than a week, telling other journals is a good idea. If it’s more than a week, I wouldn’t bother.

  3. under the pile says:

    As a current articles editor, my inbox (which I’m ignoring right now) is chock full of expedite requests, which require me to sort through a massive pile to find what others think are gems. I’m willing to do it, to use my lower ranked brethren and cistern as first readers, because if I don’t act I won’t get a look at this piece. But telling me someone else is reading your article and MIGHT make you an offer? Sorry, I’m not gonna take the time to plow through that pile unless I KNOW I have to act. I’m just too freakin busy. I can work fast if I have to, and I am working fast, because I have to, all the time. But an email about a final read means nothing to me. Tell me about an offer or don’t waste my time.

  4. Darian Ibrahim says:

    To the last comment, I can imagine the crushing workload of an articles editor at this time of year (much worse than when I did it a decade ago thanks to electronic submissions). But I don’t see how offers vs. final reads is as much of a dichotomy as you suggest *if* the final read is from a well-respected journal. Here’s my thinking:

    It all depends on what kind of information you, as an editor, want. You might only want to know what you have to read and respond to right now, and if so then offers are the only thing that matters. But do you really *have* to read anything you don’t want to? You have the power! And I know several articles editors, both where I’ve taught and placed, who don’t pay attention to expedite requests like they used to because they are often a poor proxy for quality. If editors are always responding to expedites from low-ranked or unnamed journals, they never get around to reading the good stuff, right? So at least from what I’ve heard, editors are looking for better ways to sort.

    Some will ask their professors for advice, which has its own pros and cons. But if it’s a signaling mechanism you want, an opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff, then doesn’t an article making it to the final review stage at a great journal provide a better signal than your ordinary expedite request?

    Disclaimer: my latest article (blogged about in my most recent post) is not on final review anywhere (that I know of), so this is merely a hypothetical inquiry!