Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reprints – To Send or not to Send?

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 


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One option is to send some of those reprints to people who aren't law professors (or even lawyers). I've found that agency staff, local officials, and other people who are involved in environmental law are often pleased to get reprints. They may be interested in what academics are saying, but they don't have the time to go looking for academic writing, or don't even know where to look, so getting a reprint can be a big help.

Posted by: dave owen | Sep 6, 2011 6:48:57 PM

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