Scholastica Updates Demographic Feature – only California and NYU Request Information

February 14th, 2013

Following my previous reports, an EIC of a journal writes to tell me that they requested that Scholastica no longer ask for the demographic information for submissions to their journal, and Scholastica pretty much complied (as much as feasible). As it stands now, NYU and California still ask for this information.

Just a quick update. Scholastica has made the change we requested.It’s a little complicated because of the way their interface works–authors first select the journals they want to submit to and then are asked to provide information (name, manuscript title, and–before tonight–diversity info).
As you know by now, there are two journals that have explicitly stated that they want that information–Cal and NYU. If an author’s list includes either of those journals, they’ll still be asked for optional diversity info, with an attached note making clear which journals are asking for that info. If, on the other hand, an author submits only to Iowa, they will no longer see that box at all–we don’t want that info and don’t want Scholastica asking authors for it on our behalf. In fact, authors can submit to as many Scholastica journals as they want and not see that box–as long as they don’t include Cal or NYU on their lists.
It’s not a perfect solution, but I hope it shifts the focus to where (in my opinion, at least) it should have been from the start–on the journals who ask for that information and incorporate it in their selection decisions, not on the service that conveys that request.

In other words, the demographic information is not requested unless NYU and California are selected. If one of those two are selected, you receive an additional warning above the box concerning the Demographic information that reads:

Optional Demographic Information

You are seeing this section because you are submitting to California Law Review and New York University Law Review.

This journal allows authors to provide optional demographic data. Any answers will be shared only with California Law Review.


Interestingly, Boston College and U.C. Davis were on that list. To their credit, they are no longer on the list.

But added to the list is NYU.

Some journals hosted on Scholastica request optional demographic information (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) from authors when they submit a manuscript. Optional demographic data collected in the manuscript submission form will be made available to journal editors only, and optional demographic data will be stored with the manuscript submitted to that journal. Journals which do not request optional demographic information at the time of submission will not have access to this data. Authors are not required to submit optional demographic information in order to submit a manuscript to a journal on Scholastica. The choice to request this data is made explicitly by the journal, and use of the data is entirely the responsibility of the journal collecting the data. Scholastica will store the data on the journal’s behalf and allow journals to collect and analyze data, but Scholastica will not sell, trade, or transfer an individual’s personal information to any third party or entity.

Journals who allow authors to submit demographic information:

  • California Law Review
  • New York University Law Review

I’m glad Scholastica updated the feature so quickly. I’m also glad U.C. Davis and Boston College dropped off the list. Curious why NYU joined. But not surprising that Cal remains.