Law Review Editor GuideLast Updated: Jun 09, 2017 11:57AM CDT

Overview of being a law review editor on Scholastica

Scholastica helps editors of law reviews manage article selection, as well as publish articles and issues online through Scholastica.

Scholastica works with all kinds of journals and can be configured to support your law review’s unique workflow.

As an editor, you will be able to receive, organize and assign submitted articles to your team using Scholastica's tags, filters and notifications. You can easily add files and manage versions of submitted articles all in one place.

To learn how to do all that and more, please read the guide below.

1. Set up and update your journal


Setup is quick and stress-free; all settings can be changed later. To ensure that your law review is ready to go for your board and volume, just follow these steps:

Add your board’s editors to Scholastica

Giving your team access to the Scholastica account so they can start poring through submissions is easy!
 

There are two ways you can add your team to Scholastica:

  • On Scholastica, an “editor” is someone who has access to all of your submissions and has the ability to: self-assign articles, fill out your review rubric, and read other editors’ reviews. 
  • On Scholastica, a “reviewer” is someone who can only see the submissions they are assigned, cannot see each other’s review rubrics, and cannot communicate with authors. 

Adding your team as “editors”

To invite your team to Scholastica, the admin editor of your law review’s Scholastica account will go to My Journals > Editors then click “Invite New Editor” > “Invite via email”.
Animated gif showing how to invite new editors to Scholastica

You can invite your entire article selection team at once by entering their email addresses as a comma-separated list. Then simply pop in a quick letter explaining that they’ll need to accept this invitation and sign up in order to access the Scholastica account.

Adding your team as “reviewers”

Since reviewers do not have access to the manuscript table, you must invite them to individual manuscripts by:
  • Going to My Journals > Manuscripts then clicking the title of the manuscript you’d like them to review.
  • Clicking “Reviewers” on the left then “Invite Reviewer
  • Clicking “Non-Scholastica User” to invite that editor for the first time. If they have written a review for you, that reviewer’s profile will appear under the “Past Reviewers” tab. 
  • Entering an invitation message, selecting a deadline, and clicking “Send invitation"
    • NOTE: You can input a reviewer invitation message in the templates section on the right to save yourself time!

Animated gif showing how to invite reviewers to a manuscript on Scholastica

Remove last board’s editors from Scholastica

The previous board has handed over the reins to you - congratulations! Now you’ll want to ensure that they no longer have access to sensitive information like author manuscripts since they are no longer an active board member (and because they don’t want to keep getting emails from Scholastica!). 

To remove old editors your law review’s admin editor will:
  • Navigate to My Journals > Editors
  • Click the ‘X’ in the Revoke column for the editor(s) who should no longer have access to the journal account

Customize settings

Scholastica has flexible configuration options to ensure that your law review can operate in a way that works for your team. A few of the settings that your journal admin will want to consider tweaking are listed here.

Automatically assign manuscripts

Save yourself the tedious task of ensuring that each and every manuscript has an editor assigned to it by enabling "auto assign" in your configuration options.

Image of the "auto-assign" configuration option

When your journal's administrator has enabled this option, as manuscripts are submitted, they are automatically, evenly distributed between the editors that your admin has selected.

To enable automatic assignment:
  • From your Dashboard, click My Journals.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Click Configuration Options.
  • Scroll down to Workflow Options.
  • Click the checkbox next to each recipient who should or shouldn’t be automatically assigned articles as they are submitted.
  • Click Update Journal to save changes.

Email Notifications

Many actions within Scholastica will generate email notifications. In this section, your journal's administrator can determine which actions send emails and to whom.
  • From your Dashboard, click My Journals.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Click Configuration Options.
  • Scroll down to Email Options.
  • Click the checkbox next to each recipient who should or shouldn’t be receiving emails for each action.
  • Click Update Journal to save changes.

Image of some of the available email options on Scholastica

Open/close submissions to your journal

The admin editor can open and close submissions to your journal in your journal’s Settings.

  • From your Dashboard, click My Journals.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Click Configuration Options.

To OPEN for submissions:

  • Un-check the box next to "Suspend submissions for this journal."
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Update Journal.

To CLOSE submissions:

  • Check the box next to "Suspend submissions for this journal” and enter a message to explain when you’ll next be accepting submissions. 
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Update Journal.

Update publicly-visible journal information

When submission season rolls around, you’ll want to ensure you have the most up-to-date information available for authors. Why? Because authors read the information that you have listed!

Authors click “Guidelines” to read the information you have posted on your “For Authors” page when they’re preparing to submit.  Animated gif of the author view when reading guidelines
 

To update your journal profile information (editorial board, for authors, etc.)

The admin editor will go to My Journals > Journal Profile then click edit page in the grey toolbar on the left to edit the current page.

To add a submission button to your law review’s personal website

Make it easy for authors to submit to your law review (and reduce the clutter/confusion coming into your journal’s email inbox!) by adding a Submit via Scholastica button to your law review’s website.

Image of a Scholastica submission button on Hastings Law Journal's site

Adding a button to your website is as easy as following these three steps:
  • Have your law review’s admin editor go to Settings
  • Copy the code found there
Image of submission button code on Scholastica Settings page
  • Send the code to your website’s manager to add to your submissions page!  

Filter out old manuscripts

When you first log into your journal account and head to the Manuscripts table, you may be dismayed to see that there are already manuscripts in there, possibly from last year or older. How do you get rid of the old manuscripts? Just 1. Reject them and then 2. Filter them out.

Rejecting old manuscripts

“Why do I need to reject the submissions that came in while the last board was in office? Heck, why do I need to make decisions in Scholastica at all?”

Excellent questions! Here’s why it’s important:
  • ​​If you don’t make decisions on old submissions, you won’t be able to move as efficiently through your new submissions.
It is easy to clear out old submissions, and you can either reject several manuscripts at once or, if your account is still closed for submissions from last time, you can reject all manuscripts that are still “under review”.
  • Authors want decisions and they respect law reviews that have the courtesy to give them a rejection rather than radio silence.
Don’t believe us? Read for yourself.

Filtering out rejected manuscripts

Once you’ve given every old article that was "Under Review" a decision, you can then use the manuscript table’s filters to only look at newly submitted articles.

To filter and only view newly submitted, “under review” articles:
  • Go to My Journals > Manuscripts
  • Select “under review” from the filter

2. Manage Manuscripts

This section gives an overview of how Scholastica helps editors organize, access, and take action on manuscripts submitted to their journal.

View all manuscripts

Filtering, searching, sorting, and tagging manuscripts

Filter manuscripts

  • Manuscripts can be filtered by their status, review condition, and which editor they are assigned to. 
    • ​​By default, the filter tool is set to: Show me all manuscripts assigned to anyone.
    • The all field can be set to all, under review, accepted, inactive or late.
    • The anyone field can be set to anyone, no one, or an individual editor.
    • The with a review status of field can be set to 1-3+ reviews submitted, late reviews, no reviewers invited yet, pending reviews, and unanswered invitations.

Search manuscripts

  • Manuscripts can be searched using the search bar.
    • Type a query like an author's name, a manuscript's title, or tags; the manuscript table will automatically update to accommodate your search.
    • Read more: Advanced Search

Sort manuscripts

  • Manuscripts can be sorted by author title, assigned editor, submission date, status, rating or expedite request date.
    • To sort by any of these fields, click the top of their respective column.
    • Click the column again to reverse the order.

Tag manuscripts

  • Tag manuscripts so they are easy for your team to find and refer back to. We’ve seen law editors use tags to:
    • Differentiate between issue articles and symposium articles
    • Track which round of review an article is in (e.g. “round 1”) 
  • Click on a manuscript's tag to see all other manuscripts with that tag.
  • Read more:

Discussions

Each manuscript has a Discussions section in the Editor Work Area in which editors can communicate with other editors, reviewers assigned to the manuscript, or the primary author (they can also contact you):
Image showing Discussions area

Message recipients receive an email notification of the message and can respond via email, without needing to log into Scholastica. To learn more, read How do discussions work?

Another way authors can contact your journal is via the publicly listed email address on your Journal Profile page:
Journal Contact link image
Public contact email on journal profile page


When authors reach out via the contact email listed on your Journal Profile their messages will come as emails to the journal's administrative email address. You can check or change this email address:
  • From your Dashboard, click My Journals.
    • Click the Settings tab.
  • Messages go to the email address in the "Email" field.

Expedite requests

If an author receives a publication offer from another law review, they can send an expedited decision request message.
  • Editors will receive an email notification of this request if that setting has been toggled on under Configuration Options. The email will have the article and author information, as well as the name of the law review that has made them an offer and the date by which the author is requesting a decision from your board.
  • Expedites are also viewable under "Expedite Requests" in the manuscript work area. The priority deadline is listed on top with the expedite request's history below.
  • Finally, expedite requests are viewable right on the manuscript table. You can mouseover the expedite request hyperlink to see more details:
Image of an expedite request hover effect

3. Collecting feedback on articles

If your law review collects standardized feedback about articles from your editors, then you’re in luck! Your team can read submissions, leave their review of the article, and organize their chosen articles all on Scholastica. 

Note: Any user who fills out the review form will be labeled a reviewer (even if they’re also an editor). 

Reviewer Form

When you invite an editor to provide feedback on a manuscript, they will be prompted to fill out a review. The Reviewer form is structured to standardize feedback from your editors and can be customized for your journal. Learn how here.

Example reviewer form

How do I write a review on Scholastica when I have editor access?

If you have been invited to Scholastica as an editor (i.e. when you log into Scholastica, you see the tab “My Journals” at the top), writing a review is as easy as:
  • Going to My Journals > Manuscripts then clicking the title of the manuscript you’d like to review.
  • Clicking Read Manuscript to read the manuscript and then clicking the grey Write Review button when you’re ready. 
  • Clicking “OK” on the pop-up that appears to confirm that you’ll be assigned as a ‘reviewer’. 
  • Filling out every field of the review form and click Create Review
Image showing how to write a review as an editor

How do I write a review on Scholastica when I've been invited as a reviewer?

If you do not have editor access on Scholastica, you'll need to follow the steps in this guide to learn how to accept your reviewer invitation, set up your account, read manuscripts, and write your reviews. 

Please reach out to support@scholasticahq.com with any questions!

3. Decisions

Scholastica provides tools to help editors communicate the journal's final publication decision to authors. 

Make decisions

Once you are ready to make a publication decision about a Manuscript, Scholastica allows you to notify the author of said decision.

To make a decision:
  • From your Dashboard, click My Journals.
    • Click the Manuscripts tab.
    • Select the manuscript.
    • Click Make Decision.
  • Enter decision details.
    • From the drop select, choose Accept or Reject.
    • Enter a message to the author either by typing a new one, or by selecting from your saved decision letter templates.
    • Select whether the decision should be shared with the author immediately or in two to five days and if an email should be sent to the author.
    • Attach any necessary files to the decision (reviewer notes, final edits, etc.)
    • Click Submit decision (NOTE: the decisions are final and cannot be undone).
  • Read more: Can I change a publication decision for a manuscript?
Decision letter on Scholastica

Decision templates

Scholastica allows editors to create template letters that will automatically fill in the author's name and article information when making a decision.
  • On the Make Publication Decision page, use a saved message template by clicking its name.
Using a decision letter template on Scholastica
  • Edit a saved template by clicking the small pencil icon.
  • Make a new template by clicking the small pencil icon next to an unnamed decision template.
    • Use merge tags to include dynamic information in your template.
    • Scholastica will automatically fill in those values for a given manuscript.
  • Click Save changes and close.
Editing decision templates

Publication offers

Law reviews are configured, by default, to give authors that have had their articles accepted by law reviews the option to accept or decline the publication offer.

  • When making the decision and extending the publication offer, the editor can enter the deadline by which the author must accept or decline the offer.
  • Until an offer is accepted by the author, the manuscript will appear as "Accepted Pending Publication Offer" in the list of manuscripts.
  • When an author accepts a publication offer the editor will be notified by email.
  • Learn more about publication offers here.

Best Practices (Do’s and Don’ts)

Do:

  • Decide who should have editor privileges in Scholastica. Only people that you want to be able to access any article and have the capability of making publication decisions should be given editor privileges. Note: your journal's account administrator can make changes to editor privileges.
  • Use reviewer invitations. You can invite a person to review one specific article without making them an editor, and in doing so you will be able to set a deadline for the review to be submitted and track that deadline to make sure it gets done on time. This also allows you to limit the number of people who can make publication decisions to only the core group of editors that you give editor privileges.
  • Use tags to group manuscripts. Tagging articles allows you to create ways of organizing manuscripts to match your workflow, and tags are only visible to editors of your journal. If you have three tiers of review, using tags like "first read" and "final read" allow you to search the manuscript table and only see manuscripts with those tags. Read more: How do I add tags to manuscripts?
  • Select categories for your journal so that authors with relevant manuscripts can find you more easily. Read more: How do I select specialized law categories for my journal?
  • Read more: How to be your authors’ favorite law review

Don't:

  • Do NOT...create fake user accounts for your journal (e.g. "Law Review Editor"). Journal accounts can be transferred to another editor whenever the editorial board switches over, and using only real individual accounts allows you to use Scholastica's powerful built-in analytics.
  • Do NOT...wait until the end of the submission cycle to accept/reject articles. Authors have told us that they love when journals give them decisions, and don't like when they never hear back from a journal. Read more: How do I reject remaining manuscripts when I am done selecting articles?
  • Do NOT...ignore analytics. Journals can set goals and track their progress. For example, a journal could aim to make decisions on all articles within 3 weeks, and then use the built-in analytics to see how successful they have been at reaching their goal.
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