Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why I Publish in the Antitrust Law Journal

Guest Post by Jonathan B. Baker

Danny asked me to explain why I like to publish in the Antitrust Law Journal.  As Danny knows, I
am a frequent author in that journal (nearly 20 articles), as well as a former Editorial Chair, and current Contributing Editor.  

I think the Antitrust Law Journal is by a large margin the best antitrust specialty journal today and an unbeatable place to publish an antitrust article for three reasons. 

  1.  The Antitrust Law Journal is widely read. 
     It goes free to every lawyer and economist, in the US and abroad, who  is a member of the ABA Antitrust Section, as well as to libraries, law  firms, etc.  That circulation is both large (around 8,000) and targeted (to antitrusters).  It means that as a practical matter,
         publication in the Journal is the best way for an author to reach the antitrust community.
  2. Publication in the Antitrust Law Journal provides a strong signal of article quality. 
         The journal attracts top authors in the field – academics and practitioners, economists and lawyers – so articles published there are found in good company.  It relies on a refereed
         peer review process to select articles (see next item below).  And it is where judges look to learn about antitrust:  half the antitrust articles cited by federal judges in recent years were
         published in Antitrust Law Journal – more than Harvard Law Review and Yale
         Law Journal combined (and with no other journal, specialty or general interest, accounting for more than 3% of citations). 
  3. The Journal’s peer review process and professional editorial board improve articles and help attract top authors.  The editorial board is composed of experienced practitioners from law firms and antitrust experts from the government, academia, and economic consulting.  The referees (often a combination of editorial board members and prominent outsiders) provide outstanding feedback to authors, and the hands-on editors also help authors improve their exposition.  The Journal does well with economics articles written in English, even if the ideas are complex or sophisticated, though it rarely publishes heavily mathematical economics articles. 

My personal experience with the peer review process and the editorial process has been strongly positive.  On peer review, let me describe a recent experience. I wrote a paper on exclusionary conduct, which I submitted to the Antitrust Law Journal.  I received three fabulous editorial reports from Journal referees and I have rewritten my paper substantially as a result. The reports were
serious reviews offering extensive criticisms written by what are obviously leading practitioners and scholars, whose own views on the controversial topic encompassed a range of perspectives.  The referee reports were extremely useful in the small – helping me improve my arguments or identify places where the exposition was not clear – and in the large – helping me see how to restructure the paper to make it more persuasive. (My commercial: I found the paper challenging to write because it combines discussions of law, economics, and policy, and I try to push the boundaries on each –
synthesizing a legal rule for truncated condemnation of exclusionary conduct not explicated as doctrine in the case law, synthesizing a complex economic literature on exclusionary conduct to isolate core principles, and questioning the commonly-accepted “error cost” policy analysis of exclusionary conduct enforcement.  The revised paper has been posted on SSRN – even if you looked at the previous draft, I would encourage you to check out the revision.)

On editing:  I expect to revise my exclusion article once again in response to suggestions from the
editor assigned to the article. My experience in the past is that the editors at Antitrust Law Journal are better writers and much more knowledgeable about antitrust law and economics than are editors at student law reviews, so their editing is more helpful.  With the editorial board and peer review, the Antitrust Law Journal certifies the quality of antitrust articles more credibly than student-edited law journals and improves the quality of manuscripts more than the student-edited journals do.

One could make a case that some antitrust articles might be better placed in a top ten student-edited general interest law review, particularly Harvard or Yale (which published a disproportionate fraction of the most influential articles in the field from the late 1950s through the early 1980s), or placed in a peer reviewed economics-oriented law review like the Journal of Law & Economics or the American Law & Economics Review.  The main advantage of these alternatives is in reaching a different target audience:  the general legal world (as with Harvard or Yale) or the economics-oriented legal community (as with JLE or ALER), rather than the antitrust community.  But one could also argue the point the other way – that even for antitrust articles of potential general interest or with substantial economic content, Antitrust Law Journal may be the best choice.  

My bottom line:  I would encourage anyone writing about antitrust to submit their best work to the Antitrust Law Journal.

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Jon, thanks for this post. Those citation statistics are staggering. The peer review and editing points are crucial ones. It's true that the editorial process at the ALJ is lengthy and may involve multiple revisions. But process makes the articles better. I've found, as an ivory tower type, that the edits by practitioners (usually elite attorneys in the relevant area) are especially helpful. The ALJ is one reason that theory and practice are so closely linked in antitrust--more so than any other field I can think of.

Posted by: Bill Page | Jul 10, 2012 7:43:36 AM

I cannot imagine a better "parting gift" as I near the end of my 15 (!!!) years on the editorial board of the Antitrust Law Journal. Thanks, Jon.

Tara Isa Koslov
Editorial Co-Chair 2009-2012 (term ending in August)

Posted by: Tara Isa Koslov | Jul 10, 2012 10:48:40 AM

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