Law Library

Scholarly Communication: Legal Scholarship: Introduction

What is Scholarly Communication?

The ACRL's Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication defines scholarly communication as "the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use."

Put simply, scholarly communication covers the life cycle of academic scholarship. For our purposes, I will slightly revise the terminology and divide the concepts into five parts:

1. Create

2. Publish

3. Disseminate

4. Evaluate impact

5. Preserve

What Makes Scholarly Communication Different for Legal Scholarship?

Some aspects of scholarly communication are consistent across many disciplines, but differences do exist. In the case of legal scholarship, both scholarly publishing and scholarly impact measurment have unique features. 

  • While legal scholarship does have peer reviewed journals, many articles are published in student-edited law reviews and journals.
  • Many disciplines use citations as a measure of scholarly impact. The subscription databases that are frequently used to capture citation data in other fields do not adequately capture legal scholarship, so citation studies in legal scholarship often use law-specific resources.

Graphic image listing the aspects of scholarly communication: create, publish, disseminate, evaluate impact, and preserve