the Irish for rights

A new development in Irish legal journal publishing

Irish Law Journal logoIn the US, most law journals are run and edited by law students; every law school publishes its flagship law review; and many publish specialist journals as well. Outside the US, most law journals are run and edited by law faculty, and published by legal publishers. Moreover, outside the US, whilst student-edited journals publishing articles written by students are not uncommon, student-edited journals in the US sense, publishing articles written by academics, have been slow to take hold.

Hence, in Ireland, there are many traditional journals; and the student law reviews include the Cork Online Law Review, the Galway Student Law Review, the Irish Student Law Review, the Trinity College Law Review, and the UCD Law Review. Now, hot on the heels of the publication of the first volume of the Irish Journal of Legal Studies, I learn of the appearance of the Irish Law Journal, edited, run and published by students in the Department of Law at NUI Maynooth.

They aim to constitute a valuable academic resource providing a platform for discussion and debate by publishing novel scholarship that will have an immediate and lasting impact on the legal community in Ireland and abroad. They invite articles from academics, professionals and students of law or related disciplines; and they stress that, while each issue might have articles focused on Irish law, the journal’s remit is international, and submissions are welcome on all areas of the law irrespective of national boundaries.

They say that submissions should conform to the benighted Bluebook style. This is a very great mistake. Whilst almost (but not quite) ubiquitous in the US, it has gained little traction elsewhere, simply because it is ugly and unwieldy. There are many better alternatives, such as the Oxford Standard for Citation Of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA). Indeed, at the Fourth Legal Education Symposium, Larry Donnelly and Rónán Kennedy of NUI Galway talked about the development of an Irish legal style guide as part of the Legal Writing project they are developing with Elaine Fahey (DIT) and Jennifer Schweppe (UL); and the Irish Law Journal might even break new ground by adopting that guide (unless it is too like the Bluebook, in which case my reservations about that apply!).

That caveat aside, this is an excellent venture that deserves to prosper. I look forward to the first volume and to a thriving future.

7 Responses to “A new development in Irish legal journal publishing”

  1. Fiona says:

    I couldn’t agree more Eoin–the decision to insist on Bluebook makes no sense to me unless, of course, the aim is primarily to attract submissions from, and gain traction in, the United States. Otherwise I am baffled.

  2. Eoin says:

    Thanks Fiona. I suspect they have simply imported the US-student-journal template, and that includes the Bluebook. Whether or not they are aiming for a US audience, it will certainly give them a distinctive look in Irish legal publishing. But it’s still an ugly look. You can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s a still pig!

  3. cian says:

    Is there really enough scholarship on Irish law to merit another generalist domestic law journal?

  4. Eoin says:

    Hi Cian. I think we are reaching saturation point, if we have not already done so. Leaving aside specialist journals and student journal, we already had the following general journals: the Irish Jurist, the Dublin University Law Journal, the Hibernian Law Journal (which has just recently issued a call for papers for its next volume), the Judicial Studies Institute Journal, and the Irish Journal of Legal Studies (to say nothing of A4 journals such as the Gazette, the Irish Law Times, the Bar Review, and the Irish Law Review (pdf; formerly the Independent Law Review)). So, the Irish Law Journal is joining a crowded field.

    Perhaps they might have been wiser to call it the Maynooth Law Journal, to move beyond the Irish focus. After all, the reference to “Irish Law” in the title will make it difficult to achive an international focus and remit they seek.

    Moreover, they might have been wiser to focus on a specific area relating to the emerging strengths of the new law school, to call it the Maynooth Journal of X Law, and to build the international reputation of the journal in that area.

    But I’m sure they must have considered all of that before deciding on their current strategy. Time will tell if there really is room for all of them.

  5. Eoin says:

    I’ve just come across The Glut of Academic Publishing: A Call for a New Culture (h/t Ninth Level Ireland), and it puts all this publishing into an interesting context:

    Academic publishing has already reached a point where too much material of too little substance is being published, and this trend is continuing. … The huge expansion of academic publishing has seen a commensurate increase in the number of journals, issues, and pages produced, … We view this glut of unutilized and even inconsequential literature as mostly a function of reward systems in universities, research institutes, and funding agencies. … The downsides to the literature glut are manifest:

    1. The massive refereeing load that all qualified academics carry. …
    2. The mountain of redundant and often useless reading one must do to research any topic.
    3. The number of dubious/disputable ideas that are published. …
    4. The financial load on libraries to make all this “information” available to scholars. …
    5. The neglect of the longstanding qualified literature. Because of the headlong rush to publish new material, older literature is not being properly perused. …
    6. The present system consumes vast amounts of paper. Moreover, the cost of transporting, handling, and properly storing this mass is considerable. The present system is environmentally irresponsible.
    7. Most important, the present culture breeds an entrepreneurial careerism, and thence a cynicism that is inimical to the true academic enterprise. Indeed, we find that the present culture to be pseudointellectual because it systematically diverts intellectual activity into more visible but less productive channels.

    In short, we find the present system to be inefficient, irrational, unfair, outrageously expensive, and environmentally irresponsible—in two words, unscholarly and unethical. …

    They have a point, but I’m not sure I’d go as far as they have with it.

  6. […] previous post on the advent of the Irish Law Journal led to some quite interesting discussion about the nature of […]

  7. […] if a good piece is submitted in the benighted BlueBook format, I am sure they would consider it). I blogged about the journal when it was first launched, and I understand that volume 1 is now available on […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I’m Eoin O’Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie – the Irish for rights.

“Cearta” really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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