I Should Have Known

David Bernstein writes in Friends in High Places that

“A well known tactic in getting a good placement for a law review article is for the author to thank in the first footnote important friends and colleagues who read and commented on the piece.” The message to student editors is, “you may know who I am, or anything about the subject matter, but this article must be important or these important people would not have bothered to read it.”

I'm such a dope that this never even ocurred to me. Perhaps because when I was a student law review editor I couldn't have cared less who was in the starred footnote.

Oh. Wait.

Perhaps Heidi Bond has better advice.

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One Response to I Should Have Known

  1. Chris says:

    Just as a caveat–the opposite is generally true for social science journals.

    If you’re submitting work to a peer-reviewed outlet (who often employ a double-blind review process), those acknowledgements inform the editor about potential reviewers who might be (1) sympathetic, and (2) who would know the identity of the author of the manuscript they are reviewing. If you list those names, it’s often like telling the editor flat out: don’t use these people!

    Of course, if you’re wily enough, you can certainly use this editorial tendency to your own advantage. For instance, by listing enemies, critics, and those who are notoriously slow at returning reviews, and thank them for their “generous advice and comments.”

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