ATLANTA - When they’re not teaching in the classroom, grading papers or talking with their students, many law professors spend a considerable amount of their time conducting research in and writing about their various areas of legal scholarship.
In the world of academia, the publishing of books, chapters and law review articles is a pain-staking and crucial endeavor. At Georgia State University College of Law, the faculty’s scholarly work is essential to the continued success and advanced achievement of the law school. The faculty members at the College of Law are always researching and publishing papers that can be found in various legal journals and on traditional legal research sites such as LexisNexis or Westlaw.
About a year ago, the College of Law began posting new articles on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Professor Jonathan Todres, along with Reference/Electronic Services Librarian Pamela Brannon, created the College of Law’s Legal Studies Research Paper Series, which highlights the faculty’s recent articles posted on the SSRN and is distributed via email. In its first year, the College of Law Research Paper Series posted thirty articles by eighteen different faculty members. SSRN has quickly become a "primary source where many academics go for scholarship," Todres said. As a public website with universal accessibility, SSRN opens up the publication beyond just the legal community.
SSRN tracks of the number of times articles are downloaded and compiles top 10 lists based on recent downloads, both overall for all legal scholarship and within specific subject-matter areas. In the first year, the vast majority of COL faculty scholarship posted made subject-matter Top 10 lists, and two articles, by Professor Nancy Johnson and Professor Todres, made the overall Top 10 list for all legal scholarship..
"Having a series has enabled us to increase exposure to faculty scholarship," Todres said.
That sentiment is reiterated by other members of the faculty. Professor Eric Segall said SSRN facilitates faster distribution and creates "more conversation" about various issues of the law and also captures the attention of various bloggers. Professor Mary Radford said posting on the SSRN will "allow legal practitioners and judges the opportunity to comment on our work." Radford also noted that publishing in a public sphere creates a bridge between academic scholarship and the practice of law.
Professor Andi Curcio said it is important to utilize SSRN because some of her writing has "applicability outside of the legal education realm," and the universal availability of the information on SSRN allows unfettered access. Radford, who specializes and wills, trusts and estates, said the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC) utilizes the SSRN in order to learn about and comment on "what their counterparts in academia are thinking and writing about."
With universal accessibility, Georgia State University also gains recognition each time a faculty member makes their scholarly work available. Radford said she expects this recognition will lead to faculty members being invited to participate in conferences and seminars.
"The more people see what our faculty is doing, the more people will see our faculty as the experts that they are," Brannon explained.
To subscribe to the College of Law’s Legal Studies Research Paper Series, click here.
By Cindi Yarbrough, Georgia State Law student