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July 30, 2013


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I've submitted articles both in simple word processing format and in a template (not Volokh's) that looks like a law review article. I've seen no difference on acceptance rates; with both I've been able to place in top 30 journals. With that said, the more cautious approach, to appeal to editors eyes, is to use an article template.

Alfred Brophy

Could I ask a related question: what's the conventional wisdom on posting a manuscript to ssrn or bepress before submission to law reviews? The old person in me suggests that it's a mistake to post material before you're submitting it. (The American Historical Association has sparked a very similar debate with their recent best practices statement that history departments should not require students to post their dissertations to the net. Apparently one fear is that university presses will be less likely to publish the dissertation it's already on the net for free.) But then I can also see that there's a huge advantage in getting comments on a draft and perhaps also building some interest in the manuscript.


I'm on the articles board of a top eight law review and it has never once come up that a submission is not in the right format. Even submissions in the "right" format have to be exhaustively reworked, and those who do the re-working aren't the same ones deciding whether to accept it.

Orin Kerr

Al, my vague sense is that most journals don't care either way if an article has been posted already on SSRN. The norm has become that articles are posted pre-publication on SSRN, and my sense is that journals expect it and don't feel that publication is less desirable because that has already happened. (It seems slightly different with dissertations, as university presses are looking to sell copies; most journals post .pdfs of articles on their websites.)

Alfred Brophy

Thanks, Orin, very helpful. Makes sense.

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