August 21, 2012
Scholastica's Author Communication: Harsh? Or Brilliant?
Posted by Usha Rodrigues

And now for a little law professor inside baseball.  For personal reasons I have found myself enveloped in the August submission cycle, which is a little more mysterious than the spring.  Be that as it may, I have been quite pleased with the offers that have come in, and should reach a final decision soon.

There's been blogosphere buzz about a new entrant to the submissions business, long dominated by ExpressO.  Being old enough to remember the pain of submitting articles via snail mail (mail merge, anyone?), I have found ExpressO a pure delight, offering easy quick electronic service at negligible cost.  The new kid on the block is Scholastica, and it scored a coup by nabbing the California Law Review and the Chicago Law Review as early adopters.  See blog posts from Dan Filler at the Faculty Lounge,Gerard Magliocca at ConOp, and Jesse Hill at Prawfs.  In a comment to the last post, a founder of Scholastica writes:

Scholastica provides powerful software that goes beyond ExpressO's submission/distribution service, all at no additional charge to the journal – so journals of all sizes/rankings can easily have software to make the start-to-finish journal management process easier.

Journals using Scholastica get more than just article submission; they get an entire platform for efficiently running their journal, from submissions to reviews to decisions to copyediting to publishing – again, at no charge to the journal. We also give law reviews flexibility to be part of the standard law review submission pool or they can operate as a standalone single/double blind peer reviewed journal. They can also publish open-access content online with just a few clicks.

Hmm, appealing to the law reviews as a kind of one-stop shop?  It will be interesting to see how this market shake-up plays out.  I offer but one small insight from a new customer. 

Professors who play the game know that myriad rejections are one price of admission.  Even articles that wind up at the likes of Harvard Law Review garner, through the natural course of things, dozens of rejection emails.  The wording of these emails varies, but they share a few points in common:

1. Thank you for your submission.

2. Each year we receive thousands of articles and can only select a few for publication.

3. After careful consideration, we have decided we cannot accept your article.

4. We hope you will consider us for submissions in the future.

Here was the email I received from the Chicago Law Review via Scholastica:

ChicagoRejection

 Think of the roller coaster of emotions.  First, the email's subject line creates a sense of anticipation: oooo, a decision has been reached!  What will it be?  And then, upon opening the email in question, harsh reality, in 2 terse, bolded words.  Decision: Reject.

What do you think?  Admirably to-the-point?  Unduly harsh for the tender of ego, particularly the young assistant prof or prof-wannabe?

The more I look at the email the funnier it gets.

Humor, Law Schools/Lawyering, Legal Scholarship | Bookmark

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