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101 Law Libr. J. 59 (2009)
Peer Review and Legal Publishing: What Law Librarians Need to Know about open, Single-Blind, and Double-Blind Reviewing

handle is hein.journals/llj101 and id is 59 raw text is: 




LAW LIBRARY JOURNAL Vol. 10:1 [2009-31


                                        Peer Review and Legal Publishing:
                      What Law Librarians Need to Know about Open,
                             Single-Blind, and Double-Blind Reviewing*


                                                               Nancy McCormack**


    Legal publishing is changing, and more legal periodicals are requiring that submit-
    ted papers undergo peer review using one of three systems: open, single-blind, or
    double-blind. As the use of peer review in these journals increases, and as the call for
    law reviews to change their method of article selection grows, our patrons will want
    to know the difference between the various peer review methods and why a journal's
    editors might select one method over another. Professor McCormack provides an
    overview of all three methods, and discusses the future of the peer review process in
    the publication of articles in legal periodicals.


                                   Introduction

    $11 Peer review' is a broad term with a variety of meanings. In law, peer review
can mean: (1) a process that assists in the self-regulation of a profession; (2) the
process that requires experts in a (generally narrow) field to evaluate an author's
work and ideas in that same field, usually for the purpose of publishing a paper or
awarding a grant; (3) the longer term scrutiny and discussion of a published work
by a research community years after its arrival on the scene; or, arguably, (4) the
very foundation of the legal process itself-trial by jury.2 In the legal field, the term
can mean all these things, but the form of peer review that law librarians are most
likely to encounter is the second-the process that requires experts in a specific
field of law to evaluate, especially for publication in a periodical, another author's
work in that field.
    12 Periodicals are a vital part of a librarian's stock in trade. As the system of
peer review becomes more the norm for selecting articles for publication-espe-
cially in traditional law reviews3-law library patrons will have questions about

     * © Nancy McCormack 2009.
     ** Head, Law Library and Assistant Professor of Law, Lederman Law Library, Queen's University,
Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
     1. Peer review is sometimes called refereeing.
     2. See SALLY BROWN, PHIL RACE & JOANNA BULL, COMPUTER-ASSISTED ASSESSMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATION 97 (1999).
     3. In 2008, for example, the South Carolina Law Review began to make use of the peer review
process. See South Carolina Law Review, Peer Review Pilot Project, http://www.sclawreview.org/
peerreview/index.php (last visited Sept. 17, 2008). Others are taking smaller steps toward the inev-
itable-The Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Harvard Law Review, and Stanford Law Review now use a
blind submission process. The Yale Law Journal, Submissions, http://yalelawjournal.org/submissions.
html (last visited Sept. 17, 2008); Harvard Law Review, Guidelines for Submitting Manuscripts,

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