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July 10, 2016


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Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Illinois is merging with Indiana to form Illiana. Economies of scale will produce significant cost savings and increase efficiencies across the board in all government operations.


Law libraries are canceling subscriptions to journals and law reviews. I am in the process of doing it. They aren't terribly expensive; however, nobody really uses them in print. We use HeinOnline. Westlaw and Lexis aren't ideal because they format law review articles a bit differently and there can be pagination issues.

I am also one of the faculty advisor for my law school's flagship journal and we have seen a dramatic decrease in print subscription renewals during the past four years.

Alfred L. Brophy

Anymouse -- this is exactly what I'm hearing from law librarians. I think the market will cause the move that Reis is suggesting (and that's recommended by the Durham Statement). Journals will continue to have small print runs (or print on demand) for the few people and institutions that want a print copy. Everyone else will access via westlaw or heinonline or the reviews' websites. The end of print journals is nearing; we've well along this road already.


Will the distinction between the print version of the "flagship" journal and the "online version" (often with an added moniker to denote the "online" version) survive the demise of the print version?


Readers want electronic, authors want print. Not surprising. One group focused on convenience, the other on posterity and preservation.


The "preservation" being paper copies houses in libraries?

That seems to be the point of the original post: that form of "preservation" is perhaps not as likely as digital preservation seems to be taking over. "posterity" is just another way of saying the same thing. It seems unlikely that "posterity" will be going to libraries to physically access paper copies of law reviews.


Reading comprehension, page versus screen:

Cf. the laptops in the classroom debate?

Patrick S. O'Donnell

I cannot read online material for very long (perhaps it's my age): I much prefer print, hence I end up printing much that is online so as to read it in a format that I'm comfortable with, suspecting that I tend to read much more carefully when something is more tangible and I'm not tempted by online distractions of one sort or another while reading (e.g., links, what have you). I know nothing whatsoever of "print prestige" although I'm convinced that I will always prefer to read things "in print" rather than online (the few 'Leftist' and other journals I subscribe to are read and consulted again and again largely because I can easily pick them up and read them without 'going online': I easily tire from being at the computer, which is not the case with the stuff I handle by hand). Again, perhaps it's because I'm an old fart. Don't get me wrong, I often do "research" online, which is much easier than the "old days," but once I've found the relevant sources, I rarely read them online (I may skim through them), printing them out if they're important enough to what I'm researching at the moment, while taking meticulous notes by hand.

Circular Rankings Skeptic

Al, please, enough with the citations to the school's law journal. It's ridiculous as a measure of anything meaningful about the school, although no doubt excellent as a measure of what the U.S. News rankings were when a given author went to law school.

Tamara Piety

I am with the ranking skeptic. I am not sure what the relevance of the citations to the institution's law review is to the intellectual culture. There are just so many confounds in drawing that connection. It seems like the most obvious and direct connection is the prestige itself, when then becomes circular. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people get the name of my institution wrong or confuse it with OU. I suspect that many people don't pay that much attention to other institutions outside of the top twenty (except perhaps those absorbed in prestige to an unhealthy degree)and instead just resort to proxies like US News or a vague sense of familiarity of the name (a familiarity which may have been acquired through the activities of the school's football team rather than any academic enterprises).

Al Brophy

Tamara and Circular, I appreciate your participating in the conversation. This is something that has drawn criticism for a while now. I may put up a separate post on this because I think there's a lot to be said and maybe the thread to Reis' article isn't the place to hash all of this out. A couple of quick points, though. First, as Circular accepts citations are closely correlated with US News' peer assessment scores. Thus, it presents a measure that is not propriety to US News. And, to pick up on Tamara's point that the people filling out peer assessments may not know much about a school or may confuse it with other schools, suggests that we should be using something that isn't as subject to human memory and error. Thus, something that draws on citations may be preferable.

I'm not sure why we think that the literary output of an institution (such as what appears in the pages of the Harvard Law Review, North Carolina Law Journal, the Florida State Law Review, or Tulsa Law Review) is so irrelevant to gauging the orientation of the people publishing the journal. We often -- very often -- read people's writing as a measure of their minds and their aspirations.

In short, I believe that citations tell us something important about where journals have been (what they've been able to recruit as articles).

Brian L. Frye

With respect to law reviews, I don't know how how anyone other than the editors and authors would even know whether they print hard copies anymore.

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