Information on Writing and Publishing Scholarly Materials
This website was created by the library staff to gather together in one location all the information faculty will need for researching, writing and publishing a scholarly article. For a brief overview of how to get your article published, see the library guide prepared by Steve Young entitled Publishing in Law Journals. It covers article submission guidelines, directories of law reviews, articles that rank law reviews, and other related information. In many cases these sources will be enough to get you started. However, if you still have questions about the nuts and bolts of the writing and publishing process, the information provided below should answer some of your questions. This website is still evolving; your suggestions for improvements are welcome.
Selecting a Topic: Preemption Checking
To ensure that the topic you select has not been preempted by another author, you may wish to do a preemption check of the subject matter. The Index to Legal Periodicals and Legal Trac are excellent online tools for this purpose. The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals serves as a similar vehicle in the area of foreign and international law. Other possible sources to check are Hein Online, the law review databases on Westlaw, LexisNexis, and BNA electronic newsletters. If you plan to use these tools from home, with the exception of Westlaw and LexisNexis, you will need to have your law library patron barcode number to enter these systems. Contact the Circulation Department for help with your barcode. Another online source of new and pre-published scholarship is SSRN, a service that is described below. If you need a refresher on how to use any of these online tools, the librarians will be happy to assist you.
Following Your Topic
To keep up-to-date while you research and write, you can subscribe to the weekly topical "e-journals" of SSRN, or the clipping services of Westlaw and LexisNexis. After the researcher defines a search, Westlaw and Lexis will send regular e-mail alerts about developments that may affect your topic. BNA has a similar updating product for the several electronic services to which the library subscribes, and Smart Cilp, a service of the University of Washington Law Library, notifies subscribers about recent journal literature before the articles are formally listed in online indexes. Contact the Reference Department to get started with any of these services.
Selecting and Submitting to Appropriate Law Reviews / ExpressO
When your article is ready for publication, the easiest method of selecting and submitting your manuscript for publication is to use ExpressO, an online submission service operated by Berkeley Press. ExpressO is simple to use and offers a number of features to make the submission process much less cumbersome than in the past. An author can select law reviews and journals by individual title or by titles grouped together under appropriate legal subject headings. After the process of journal selection is complete, the author is requested to upload electronic copies of the article, article abstract (required), cover letter, and optional vita. ExpressO will then send this information to the journals selected in the previous step. In addition, ExpressO will automatically send a paper copy to those law journals still requiring such submissions. A short ExpressO PowerPoint tutorial describes this process in more detail. Be prepared to act quickly about deciding with whom to publish; editors sometimes make offers to publish with short response times. All expenses of using ExpressO are paid for by the Columbus School of Law. Do not pay by credit card if requested to do so, because the payment system should recognize your email address. To ensure that you are on the ExpressO subscription list click here: authorized users. Frequently asked questions about using the ExpressO service can be read here.
Where to Find a List of Faculty Publications
The library staff maintains a faculty bibliography of publications that is separated into three divisions: 1) 1897-1997 (Centennial Bibliography); 2) Current Faculty Bibliography through 2004; and 3) Faculty Bibliography, 2004 -2010. You can view the bibliographies at the library's publications Web page under Faculty Bibliography.
The Social Science Research Network - SSRN
In 1994 an electronic network of easily searchable abstracts of social science research papers (with accompanying downloadable, full-text documents) was created through a collaboration between the faculties of Stanford and Columbia Universities to serve the needs of the worldwide academic community. Known as the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), it eventually added Internet-accessible sub-networks including the Legal Scholarship Network. For the purposes of this discussion, the acronym SSRN will be used to describe the service.
Subscribing to SSRN to Receive Weekly Research Papers of Interest; Searching in SSRN
If a faculty member wants to receive weekly e-mail abstracts of SSRN articles under "selected subject headings" or from a “particular law school series," an annual SSRN subscription is required. Currently the Columbus School of Law has such a blanket subscription, and many faculty members have signed up to receive e-mail updates. A typical "e-journal," as they are called, will be similar to the one posted here, and includes both an abstract and a full-text downloadable document. Although the faculty member will sign himself or herself up for the service (self-selecting e-journals from a variety of topics), the library should be notified to provide brief instructions and to be certain that the appropriate subscription fee is paid each year. Our general renewal for SSRN is in late summer. You may check here to see if you are on the authorized subscriber list.
Faculty members also can search the SSRN database to locate articles on subjects of interest. The standard search page is easy to use for finding both topical materials and articles authored by particular scholars. An example is shown here.
Submitting Articles to SSRN; Linking to Law School Web Page
The SSRN database includes abstracts and the full-text of faculty papers. A faculty member of any law school can upload for free an article in progress, completed or already published (with copyright clearance) to the service. In addition, a law school may create its own branded web page at the SSRN site in order to provide a link to all of its faculty research work under one banner. The Columbus School of Law has such a web page, which is designated as the The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Through this Research Paper Series faculty wishing to gain more exposure for their scholarship can have their articles, reviews, conference papers, etc. uploaded and disseminated to a wide audience.
Major Benefits of Submitting Articles to SSRN
There are a number of benefits to faculty who post papers on SSRN:
- Electronic abstracts of your papers are sent out on the regular SSRN e-journals’ listservs and are received by hundreds of scholars;
- Papers are indexed in the permanent SSRN database, making them available to legal scholars with similar interests;
- Papers become searchable through regular search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.), bringing you and the Columbus School of Law a larger audience;
- Posting helps the law school build a bigger web presence among scholars using SSRN;
- The law school can develop its own listserv to publicize faculty scholarship to faculty, alumni, colleagues of bench, etc.
What Must I do?
In order for you to participate in the SSRN electronic publishing system you must:
- Hold or obtain copyright clearance to upload a published article, conference paper, etc.;
- Have created an accompanying abstract;
- Have an electronic copy of the article, or a good scan of the printed article (please note that you cannot download articles from Westlaw, Lexis or Hein Online);
- Contact Associate Library Director Beth Edinger when you are ready for the paper to be uploaded.
Electronic copies of the abstract, full-text article, cover letter, vita, and suggested subject headings can then be sent to Ms. Edinger who will upload the materials into the SSRN repository. In the process of uploading the document, a CUA cover sheet with the University seal, a serial number for the research series and date will be attached to the document. When three or more faculty articles are uploaded, SSRN staff will send them out by e-mail to all subscribers interested in receiving either the law school's series or the topical e-journal to which the articles were assigned.
A Word about SSRN Statistics
In the process of collecting and downloading faculty research materials by end users, SSRN generates a number of useful statistics based on several categories that include: 1) the number of times an author's paper has been downloaded; 2) the number of times all the author’s papers have been downloaded; and 3) the number of times all papers from a particular institution have been downloaded. The law school also receives an institutional rank based on the number of papers uploaded, downloaded, and the like. Sorting from highest to lowest number of downloads within the law school's institutional repository is also possible.
Retaining or keeping one’s own copyright when sending material out for publication is important. For general materials on copyright dos and don’ts, go to Resources on Copyright which has useful information prepared by the CUA General Counsel’s Office.
A Website that instructs an author on how to retain one’s copyright can be found at http://scholars.sciencecommons.org/. At this site, the author fills out a menu-driven form which generates an attachment to add to the law review contract for publication outlining copyright permission. A Columbia University site, which covers the same topic and recommended by the CUA General Counsel’s office can be found at http://keepyourcopyrights.org/about.
Writing Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, etc.
In addition to authoring books, book chapters and journal articles, the Columbus School of Law faculty write in other genres that include: book and film reviews, bibliographies, oral histories, electronic websites, encyclopedias, novels, and special monographs.
After you have published your materials through one of the sources above, be sure to list the title and bibliographic data at the University Provost's Faculty Activities Report web page, as well as at your own Columbus School of Law Faculty web page.