Would You Like Some Constructive Criticism?

Today’s post on the upcoming law review submission period got me thinking. If it was feasible, would law professors like to receive feedback from law review editors with their rejections?

Written feedback is probably unrealistic outside of cases where an article is rejected at the very last stage of the game (where some law reviews already provide an explanation), but it’s possible that journals (or even Expresso) might adopt a quick online checklist that they could pass on to submitters (“The article was rejected because it was judged to be [select one or more]: (1) lacking in originality / derivative of other work, (2) in a topic area recently published/accepted by the journal, (3) too long, (4) poorly supported/cited, (5) unclear / too difficult to understand, (6) out-of-date / no longer relevant, (7) . . .”).

Learning that one law review rejected your article because they thought it was “poorly supported/cited” wouldn’t tell you much, but if you got ten such rejections that might help you in the next submission cycle. I think when a piece isn’t flying off the shelves, most law professors may have an inkling why that is, but, then again, they may not. The reservation your senior colleague, wife, or grandmother had about your article isn’t necessary the same one that a law review editor has.

Maybe more information is good and, for the thin-skinned of us out there, perhaps we can opt-into an alternative checklist that softens the blow:

Ο      Congratulations, we would like to accept your article.

Ο      I think we should see other people.

×      It’s not you; it’s me.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. anon says:

    I doubt the usefulness of such a checklist, or even comments from editors. The empirical studies are pretty clear that editors heavily rely on proxies (e.g., who are you, where are you teaching, etc.) to select articles.