Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to Get Your Paper Featured on the Legal History Blog

We like getting tips about new scholarship to feature on the Legal History Blog. If you would like us to consider your work, here's how to bring it to our attention:

The SSRN Legal History Journal.

The easiest way to bring your paper to our attention is to simply post it on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), and ask SSRN to list your paper in its Legal History Journal. We check the website for this journal regularly, and we will see your paper there. There's no need for you to email us about it. This also puts it on the Legal History Listserv, so that your abstract will be emailed to subscribers.

How to put your paper on SSRN.

If you are a law professor, someone at your law school probably handles SSRN posting. Please ask them to help you. If you are not a permanent member of a faculty with access to SSRN, you might be able to post your paper through an educational institution you are associated with. Increasingly, law and graduate students are posting through their school's membership. If you are an adjunct instructor at a law school, you should inquire about whether you can post through the school. Alternatively, you can join SSRN as an individual. Membership is free. Alternatively, you can create a BE Press Selected Works site to feature your scholarship and post your paper there. This service is free and easy to use. BE Press allows you to customize your page, which you can't do on SSRN. (As an example, my BE Press page is here.)

If not on SSRN or BE Press, your paper must be posted on the web and/or published.

Readers sometimes send us unpublished manuscripts to post on the blog, but we're not able to post them. The software doesn't work that way. Your paper needs to be posted on the web elsewhere, and then we can link to it. If you have an article published in a journal, we can we can link to the journal, whether or not it is open-access.

You must have an abstract.

If your paper is on SSRN or BE Press, you have already written an abstract. If your article is published and it has no abstract, please write one and email it to us. We prefer not to post titles only, and we don't have time to write an abstract or article summary for you. Tips on writing an abstract are here.

If your article is posted on the web, you need to send us the link.

If you would like to alert us to the fact that your paper is posted on SSRN or elsewhere, it's important to include the link in your email. Otherwise we have to search for it. We're more likely to post about a paper if you make it easier for us to find it.

We don't post everything.

While we take a look at all the papers posted on the SSRN Legal History page, and abstracts sent to us by readers, we don't post absolutely everything. We post about papers and articles that we think legal historians should know about, and we define legal history broadly. We post about papers with arguments and methodologies that we disagree with. We sometimes post about papers that are principally legal advocacy projects if they incorporate significant historical sources or analysis. Otherwise, we don't post about legal advocacy projects. (E.g. we would not post about a paper about contemporary legal standards that makes an argument about the way precedent should be interpreted. The discussion of precedent doesn't make it a legal history project). We sometimes don't post about a paper because of obvious methodological flaws or other clear weaknesses, placing it outside the scope of works of interest to legal historians. We sometimes overlook a paper simply because we are too busy and can't cover everything. (Sorry about that!)