At Scholastica, we’re always adding new features to our law review software to help editors work more effectively, with fewer technical hassles, and without having to worry about communication falling through the cracks. We’re also taking steps to help law reviews promote their calls for papers and more easily publish beautiful, search-optimized articles and issues online.
We do our best to keep new law review editors abreast of our latest software improvements and article selection resources. But, in the mayhem of board transitions and submission seasons, we know that it’s easy to miss an update. So to help you quickly get acquainted with some of Scholastica’s most beneficial features and initiatives for law reviews that you may not be taking full advantage of, we’ve rounded up a few highlights in this post. Read on to learn about article selection tools, journal promotion opportunities, and online publishing solutions to make your life easier.
Editors accidentally doing double work or missing assignments — we know those are two of the biggest concerns at all law reviews. Submission season is a crazy time, and a lot can fall through the cracks if everyone isn’t on the same page.
That’s why Scholastica has features in place to help editors more easily keep track of their assignments and delegate tasks to team members. It starts with all articles editors being able to set up individual logins to access their law reviews’ Scholastica account. So there’s no need to worry about remembering shared passwords, and teams can easily assign articles to specific editors. Your law review’s admin editors can invite all of your e-board members to set up a Scholastica login by following the steps in this help doc. They will have the ability to set appropriate manuscript viewing permissions for each editor.
Once all editors have been added to your Scholastica account, designating manuscript assignments and tasks among board members is easy. From the Manuscripts Table, you can assign manuscripts to editors individually or even in bulk. All editors will also see a Todo dashboard upon logging into their account, where they can quickly assign tasks to themselves or other team members and track their progress.
Does your law review follow an anonymized article selection process (i.e., where you ask authors to remove identifying information from manuscript files)? Or are you thinking about implementing one?
Scholastica can help make that process more efficient! We offer the option for law reviews in the pool to require authors to make anonymized submissions and easily collect them. To require anonymous submissions, have your admin editor navigate to “Configuration Options” from Journal Settings and check the box that says “Require that authors submit anonymized manuscripts” (shown above). Learn more in this help doc.
When a law review chooses to require anonymized submissions, we reflect that in its submission pool listing via a banner that says “Anonymized Manuscripts Only.” And when authors add your law review to a pool submission, the form will include fields for uploading anonymized manuscript files, which will be required to submit to ensure they don’t forget.
Over the years, we’ve bulked up Scholastica’s features to help law review editors and legal authors tackle the heavy lifting of manuscript management more efficiently. Among key bulk action features you should know about are:
- Bulk assign manuscripts to editors: Use the “bulk assign” feature to assign multiple manuscripts to individual editors at one time from the Manuscripts Table
- Bulk assign tags to manuscripts: You can also bulk assign tags to multiple articles at one time from the Manuscripts Table.
- Bulk reject submissions: Use the Quick Reject feature to reject multiple articles simultaneously from the Manuscripts Table after review. This will help you work more efficiently and ensure you’re giving all authors a decision (which they’ll appreciate!). To use the Quick Reject option, you’ll need your admin editor to enable it from your Journal Settings Configurations page.
Learn how to start using all of the above bulk actions in this help doc.
Communication is a cornerstone of law review management. For every article that comes in, editors must provide authors with adequate status updates, decisions, and next steps if chosen for publication. We know that this often means typing out nearly identical messages many times, which can be, well, tedious, and not the best use of time. That’s why we’ve developed features to help. In addition to decision letter templates, Scholastica gives journals the ability to create Discussion templates. That means you can make templates for commonly-sent Discussion messages and keep reusing them.
Law reviews can create Discussion templates for any kind of recurring communication such as to:
- Send acknowledgment of an expedite request
- Send manuscript status updates (i.e., “Your manuscript is in the final stages of review”)
- Respond to an author asking for a deadline extension on an offer
To start making Discussion templates for your law review, go to the Discussion tab for any manuscript. Once in the Discussion area, click into the textbox, and click the “use template” dropdown. You’ll then be able to start creating your own custom templates as explained in this help doc.
Are you wondering when your law review tends to receive the most submissions, or what your article acceptance and rejection rates have historically been?
With Scholastica, there’s no need to manually maintain data insights spreadsheets to pass between boards because our software automatically tracks key stats for you. The “Analytics“ tab of your Scholastica account includes a whole suite of journal-level insights, including:
- Average time to manuscript decision
- Average acceptance rate and rejection rate
- Frequency of submissions over time
You can also drill down into editor-level stats to see the average number of manuscripts assigned to each of your team members (that way, you can ensure work is distributed fairly!). Additionally, you can track the average number of days each editor takes to make a manuscript decision, including a breakdown by acceptances vs. rejections.
With easy access to data insights in your Scholastica account, you’ll be able to get to know trends in the ebb and flow of submissions to your journal over time and spot potential workflow bottlenecks before they occur.
Did you know that law reviews using Scholastica for article selection also have the ability to easily integrate with our article production service and online publishing platform? Using Scholastica’s production and publishing solutions, law reviews can create beautiful articles and issues online without technical hassles.
Scholastica’s online publishing platform includes a search-optimized website template that editors can easily update themselves — so there’s no need to wait for a web developer. You can also request to add custom pages to your law review website as needed and even set up a journal blog in a matter of minutes using our built-in blogging functionality.
Journals using Scholastica’s publishing platform also gain access to a suite of readership analytics, including article download counts, pageviews, referring websites, and more.
We know most law reviews have tight timelines to fill their next volumes and are looking for ways to attract more quality submissions. So we’ve also taken steps to help you get the word out about your latest calls for papers.
There are a few ways you can use Scholastica to promote calls for submissions:
- Tweet out calls for papers with #LRSubmissions — we’ll retweet them to our audience
- Post your calls for papers in the Conversation — legal scholars know to follow it for law review updates
- Request to have your law review included in “last calls for submissions” emails that we send out to authors towards the end of the spring and fall submission seasons
Have another idea for how we can help promote law review calls for papers? Let us know!
Scholastica’s features for editors and authors are designed to help you work more efficiently and have the best submission experience possible. We’re also helping to foster more open dialogue among editors and authors by giving them a platform to:
- Communicate via the Conversation
- Share article selection expectations and best practices, like in our Advice from outgoing law review editors blog series
- Access historic law review submission season data from our Annual Scholastica Law Review Submissions Insights page to make more informed decisions
We hope you find this feature roundup useful! Be sure to pass this along to your newest e-board members so they can start leveraging the full power of Scholastica as well. As always, if you have any questions about Scholastica or ideas for new features, feel free to contact us!
Update note: This blog post was originally published on the 30th of July 2018 and updated and republished on the 26th of January 2022.