Scholastica Blog

Developments, thoughts, and observations

Image: Ken Adams

Kenneth A. Adams is a leading consultant and speaker on contract drafting, and author of "A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting" (American Bar Association 3rd ed. 2013). Adams is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. He previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 2006-2012. His website and blog are at www.adamsdrafting.com.

Notre Dame Law School adjunct professor Ken Adams is not afraid to change up the status quo in contract drafting, both in what he teaches and how he teaches it.

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As an editor have you recently found yourself thinking either of these things?:

  1. "Why do authors keep sending me articles that are clearly not in line with the mission and scope of my journal?”

  2. "I am tired of having to ask authors to fix avoidable formatting errors."

If these thoughts have crossed your mind, the good news is there is something you can do right now to ease these pain points: look for ways to make your submission guidelines clearer.

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Image: Field of Dreams

"People will come, Ray"—says Terence Man, played by James Earl Jones, when Kevin Costner’s character questions his decision to build a ball park in the middle of a cornfield in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

Spoiler Alert: Contrary to this hopeful movie message, if you build it, more than likely, people will not come. This principle holds true for most personal and professional outputs, whether they be middle-of-nowhere baseball stadiums or academic publications.

If you want people to know about your scholarly work you have to give them an accessible place, or ideally variety of places, to learn about it. Accessible has two meanings here—you want to promote your research in places that are easy to access, and you want to explain it in a way that is accessible to a wide audience.

So how can you raise awareness of your scholarly contributions?

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Image: Kronk faces his mini-mes in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove

Drafting an academic paper, especially during the early stage of your career, can be an overwhelming experience. It becomes difficult to stay focused on the task at hand when the angel- and devil-clad mini-mes on either shoulder start duking it out over whether your paper will make it to publication, or whether you’ll find yourself back at the drawing board when a rejection decision finally rolls in.

While you ultimately cannot control the opinions of reviewers, you can take ownership of the submission process to give your paper a boost towards publication and keep your writing on track from day one.

Here are 9 steps to get you started based on what we’ve heard from our editors and learned on the web:

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Image: Alison Monahan

Graduate work can be both a dynamic and isolating experience for students, with law school being no exception. There are endless pressures that come with juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activities, future career planning, and day-to-day life, which can take a toll on students if kept pent-up inside.

Alison Monahan, Columbia Law alumna and founder of law student support startup The Girl’s Guide to Law School, knows this struggle firsthand. (Alison is also co-founder of law student resource websites the Law School Toolbox and the Bar Exam Toolbox, as well as law career website Trebuchet Legal.) She encourages law students to take a proactive approach to prioritizing their schedules in a realistic way, in order to have a healthy balance of schoolwork, professional development, and personal activities.

Monahan says success in law school and life begins when students start asking: "what do I need to make the most of my experience?" and start recognizing when to ask for help.

I spoke with Alison Monahan to get her insights on how students can stay positive and productive while juggling life and law school. Here’s what she had to say:

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Academia: July Snapshot

Last month we took a snapshot of some of the top news in academia surrounding: academic publishing, the open access and open data movements, publication metrics and more. We wanted to continue that initiative this month with an August snapshot of academia, in an effort to keep track of trending topics in the space and offer a platform for discussions.

We encourage you to share additional articles, videos, or blog posts that caught your attention in the comments section!

Open Access Publishing

PLOS Blogs: Wikimania: We Need to Choose the Mainstream Over Our Small Pool

August 6-10 marked the tenth Wikimania conference in London, England. In a conference recap attendee Cameron Neylon, Advocacy Director at the Public Library of Science, highlights how academics can use Wikipedia to make their research more accessible to a mainstream audience.

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Image: Due Dates

We’re always learning about the unique demands of managing the peer-review process and continually refining Scholastica to be the best tool it can be for the job. In the last month we’ve made it easier to keep track of deadlines, outstanding reviews, and R&Rs.

Here’s a rundown of some of the latest features we’ve added to Scholastica!

Due dates. Whether you need to review a manuscript or respond to a publication offer from a law review, chances are you’ve been given a deadline. Now, any actions assigned with a deadline in Scholastica will be listed in the Due Dates list with buttons to help you complete the task.

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August—a time to savor the last summer days of baseball season, and for legal scholars to wind up for law review submission season!

Did you know that baseball is the only sport with no defense—or rather, the only sport where the defense is given control of the ball?

Law review articles, like baseballs, have to be able to fly straight on their own. Home run submissions are the result of one hit, one shot at publication, to compete against other articles who’ve made it onto the field.

To help you get ahead of the game, we reached out to two law review editors to see the kind of submissions that hit it out of the park for their journals: Amar Naik, Editor and Chief of UC Davis Law Review, and Franco Muzzio, Chief Articles Editor at UCLA Law Review. Here are their top dos and don’ts for articles up to bat, starting with submission timing.

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Image: Stanford Graduate School of Business: Jesper Sørensen

There is an abundance of information about the benefits of open access publishing, but what about guidance on how to launch and operate a successful open access journal? Finding advice on launching a journal that is able to stand out in the crowd and flourish in its respective field over time can prove challenging, as the open access landscape continues to take shape.

I reached out to Jesper Sørensen, professor of organizational behavior and sociology at Stanford Business School, to gain some insight into what it takes to publish an open access journal based on his experience as an editor and founder of the new and thriving OA journal Sociological Science.

According to Sørensen, one of the top challenges and simultaneous best opportunities for new open access journals to develop a following is to find a unique niche in the marketplace. For Sociological Science, which was founded in September 2013, that niche came in the form of the founding editors’ shared desire to get articles to publication sooner, in order to prevent the stagnation of scholarly work on novel research concepts. In our interview, Sørensen walked me through the steps that Sociological Science has taken to achieve and promote this goal.

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Want to know which law reviews are open for submissions on Scholastica? Check out the interactive table below to search and sort law reviews by name, category, and whether or not they’re open. This table is being automatically updated as law reviews change their submission status on Scholastica, so you’ll be able to see journal openings as soon as they occur!

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us at with any submission related questions at support@scholasticahq.com.

Journal Name School Affiliation Open? Category