Tuesday, September 6, 2011
When I started teaching, I remember being very skeptical about the practice of sending out reprints (think embedded carbon). When I raised the question with some of my new colleagues, they strongly encouraged me to distribute reprints both at my law school and nationally. And so I did.
Post-tenure, the decision is a little harder. The wastefulness still bothers me and there are several other means of getting the word out that one has published. For colleagues on your faculty, I think that making a copy of the first page of the published article with a note that you would be glad to provide a full copy upon request is an effective substitute. For other environmental law professors, notice via the envlawprofs listserve or by personalized email seems a good option.
On the other hand, I have found the reprints that I have received over the years to be a resource. I have them sorted by topic (e.g., with relation to climate: environmental justice/ liability for harms; cap and trade/ emissions trading; endangered species/ ecosystems; energy regulation/ renewable energy; international law/ tropical forests), and when I want to look at an article on a given topic, I often look there first. Reprints are a lot more enjoyable to read than Westlaw/Lexis printouts and, unlike Hein, they are already printed out. Also, I have brought them to my climate change class to give students a sense of the legal literature on climate change and help them generate paper ideas.
And now for the reason this is on my mind: I have a set of reprints that I ordered this time last year that I am going to send out in the next couple weeks. But it might be the last time I do. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the matter!
- Lesley McAllister