How much does a law review article in a top-ranked journal cost?

April 21st, 2011

Apparently $100,000, according to Hofstra University School of Law professor Richard Neumann.

His estimate factors in the salary and benefits for a tenured professor at a high-paying school who spends between 30% and 50% of his or her time on scholarship and publishes one article per year.

It also takes into account possible research grants, which many schools offer professors to help fund their scholarly work, and the costs for research assistants.

What about profs without tenure?

Even articles written by assistant professors at lower-paying law schools come with a price tag between $25,000 and $42,000, he estimated.

And to what point? No one actually reads these articles:

Neumann also pointed to research suggesting that 43% of law review articles are never cited by anyone. “At least a third of these things have no value,” he said. “Who is paying for that? Students who will graduate with six figures of debt.”

How does such spending affect students (the customers)?

That faculty time would be better spent in the classroom, especially since teaching loads have dropped significantly in recent decades, he argued. It’s time to break the model of large–and cost effective–lecture classes that subsidize reams of research, Neumann said. And only a faculty with tenure will have the freedom to think creatively about new methods of teaching, he said.

Yellen agreed that the era of supporting both theoretical work and more skills training through tuition increases is over, and that historically low teaching loads were “a bit unfair to our students.”

“Students are saying, ‘I don’t want to pay for it anymore,’ ” he said. “How do we explain how our scholarly mission helps them?”

$100k? $25k? Seriously. I wrote 9 law review articles for free. No one paid me a penny. In fact, I did them while working at a full-time job that didn’t pay me to write. I never really understood why professors needed funding for articles. Unless you are doing research that requires some rare archives, or hiring research teams, shouldn’t your salary cover your writing?

H/T Rob Luther