Established in 2014, the Mississippi Law Journal’s innovative peer review process adds a valuable new dimension to the Journal’s tradition of excellence. Like most American law reviews, the Mississippi Law Journal is a student-edited journal. The majority of its articles are selected by student editors—sometimes with input from University of Mississippi School of Law faculty. However, a few of its articles are now selected and workshopped through an alternative process involving formal review by faculty peer reviewers. These articles are published in the Mississippi Law Journal as peer reviewed articles.
The peer review process has two major components: (i) selection of articles and (ii) workshopping opportunities for authors.
The Journal’s Editorial Board selects articles for publication in the peer review forum based on the recommendations of faculty peer reviewers—members of a Peer Review Board staffed by UM law faculty. The Editorial Board forwards a subset of articles from its general pool of submissions to peer reviewers for blind review. The articles are selected for peer review principally on the basis of the peer reviewers’ common areas of scholarly expertise. The Peer Review Board meets each week during the fall and spring submission seasons to discuss articles in depth and endorse a small number as worthy of publication in the peer review forum. The Journal’s faculty peer reviewers are committed to the rigorous review of anonymized articles within their joint areas of specialization.
The Journal offers peer review authors who publish with the Journal substantial opportunities to workshop articles with peer reviewers in partnership with the Academic Workshop Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Authors receive initial written comments from the Peer Review Board and are also encouraged to participate in videoconference or in-person workshops with peer reviewers, other UM faculty, and student editors. These workshops emphasize constructive suggestions for refining the substance and presentation of articles. The Journal’s faculty peer reviewers are dedicated to serious workshopping in a supportive environment designed to help authors bring out their best work. Further, authors are invited to present their works to faculty and students at the University.
The Journal believes that its new peer review process promotes academic excellence and scholarly engagement. While in some ways the process is not as elaborate as traditional refereeing in the liberal arts—an inevitable consequence of the customary law review practice of accepting simultaneous submissions—the Journal feels that it represents a faithful adaption of the professional norms of the peer review model to the different conventions of law review publishing. The Journal’s student editors and faculty peer reviewers are confident that their peer review partnership will prove an important addition to the standard editorial practices of American law reviews.