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The Dissemination of International Scholarship: The Future of Books and Book Reviews

  • FREYA BAETENS and VID PRISLAN
Extract

A question such as this one usually results in a slightly incredulous smile on the addressee's face, as if it implies an assumption that there is time to spare in the life of an international lawyer faced with a myriad of interesting-looking publications. For a long time, writing a monograph used to be the keystone, the ultimate test, to join the academic ranks – yet today, universities grant PhD titles based on the writing of separate articles on a common theme and doctoral researchers are increasingly encouraged to choose this option, so as to ensure their ideas actually reach the intended audience. Arguably, today's academic audience is assumed not to have, or at least not to make, the time to read an entire book.

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References
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1 Questions relating to scholarship and its dissemination have already been discussed in an earlier editorial in this journal. See Stahn, C. and De Brabandere, E., ‘The Future of International Legal Scholarship: Some Thoughts on “Practice”, “Growth”, and “Dissemination”’, (2014) 27 LJIL 1, at 1.

2 See van den Herik, L., ‘Introduction: LJIL in the Age of Cyberspace’, (2012) 25 LJIL 1, at 4–8. The questions raised there do not arise only in relation to journal articles, but also in relation to books.

3 For a more extensive analysis of Open Access options and the implications of open access on international legal scholarship, see Baetens, F. and Cheah, W. L., ‘Being an International Law Lecturer in the 21st Century: Where Tradition Meets Innovation’, (2013) 2 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 974.

4 See L. van den Herik, supra note 2, at 7–8. The question of open access has been further discussed in C. Stahn and E. De Brabandere, supra note 1, at 9.

5 For an overview, see the Directory of Open Access books, listing books from more than 57 publishers, available at <http://www.doabooks.org>.

6 To our knowledge, exceptions are the Thomson Reuters’ Book Citation Index <http://thomsonreuters.com/book-citation-index/>, which then features in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and the Google Scholar Citation Index, which reportedly includes some scholarly books <http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/publishers.html#questions>.

7 For a perspective from the natural sciences on some of these problems, see, e.g., Marder, E., Kettenmann, H., and Grillner, S., ‘Impacting Our Young’, (2010) 107 (50)Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 21233; for a perspective from international legal scholarship, see, e.g., Weiler, J., ‘Editorial: Impact Factor – The Food is Bad and What's More There is Not Enough of It’, (2012) 23 EJIL 607.

9 Google Scholar, for example, lists the American Journal of Comparative Law and the Human Rights Quarterly in its top five, which do not feature in the top twenty of the Washington and Lee University Ranking. The Washington and Lee University Ranking lists the Harvard International Law Journal, the Tulane Law Review and The Yale Journal of International Law in its top five – none of which appear in the Google Scholar ranking.

10 See Weiler, supra note 7, at 609–10.

12 See D. Bishop, ‘How to Bury your Academic Writing’, available at <http://deevybee.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/how-to-bury-your-academic-writing.html>. The author of the blog is a professor of developmental neuropsychology at Oxford University.

13 See on this D’Aspremont, J. and van den Herik, L., ‘The Public Good of Academic Publishing in International Law’, (2013), 26 LJIL 1.

14 See, e.g., the review by Sari, A. in (2006) 17 EJIL 863, which noted the ‘at times cavalier use of sources’ by the author of one of the reviewed books, and the academic repercussions that this review has had, as described in Nederlands Juridisch Dagblad (27 November 2006), available at <http://juridischdagblad.nl/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=4257>.

15 See, e.g., Williams, F., (2013) 26 LJIL 772.

16 See J. D’Aspremont and L. van den Herik, supra note 13, at 3–4.

17 Which is why such works only exceptionally feature among the books reviewed by LJIL. See, e.g., Newalsing, E., (2008) 21 LJIL 255, presenting the ICRC study published as Henckaerts, J.-M. and Doswald-Beck, L. (eds.), Customary International Humanitarian Law (2005); or d’Aspremont, J., (2008) 21 LJIL 282, presenting Corten, O. and Klein, P. (eds.), Les Conventions de Vienne sur le Droit des Traités: Commentaire Article par Article (2006).

18 Although reviewers have occasionally later become members of the editorial board.

19 See, e.g., Zimmermann, C., (2013) 26 LJIL 497; or Williams, F., (2013) 26 LJIL 772.

20 See, e.g., Ndahinda, F. Mukwiza, (2007) 20 LJIL 699; d’Aspremont, J., (2008) 21 LJIL 282; Zarbiev, F., (2009) 22 LJIL 211; Moral, I. De La Rasilla Del, (2009) 22 LJIL 629; Urueña, R., (2011) 24 LJIL 793; Dunin-Wasowicz, J. K., (2012) 25 LJIL 1029; or Ahlborn, C., (2013) 26 LJIL 223.

21 See, e.g., Rauber, J. (2013) 26 LJIL 201.

22 See Weiler, J., ‘Editorial: Book Reviewing and Academic Freedom’, (2010) 20 EJIL 967–76.

23 See Weiler, J., ‘Editorial’, (2008) 19 EJIL 459–62, at 459.

24 Friedrichs, J., (2010) 23 LJIL 712–15.

25 See, e.g., Zarbiev, F., (2009) 22 LJIL 211–16, or Varga, A., (2012) 25 LJIL 843–6.

26 See, e.g., Liivoja, R., ‘Regulating the Private Military and Security Industry: A Quest to Maintain State Control and Preserve Public Values’, (2012) 25 LJIL 1019–28, Rauber, J., ‘On Communitarian and Constitutional Approaches to International Law’, (2013) 26 LJIL 201–17; or Paine, J., ‘Kelsen, Legal Normativity, and Formal Justice in International Relations’, (2013) 26 LJIL 1037–53.

27 See, e.g., Chesterman, S., ‘International Territorial Administration and the Limits of Law’, (2010) 23 LJIL 437–47, at 445, noting how one of the book's chapters are ‘subdivided in legal numbering that would challenge the average word processor, including a heading in chapter 14 numbered “3.2.3.2.2.b(2)”’.

28 See, e.g., Engström, V., ‘Two Ways of Knowing International Law’, (2014) 27 LJIL, discussing two international law textbooks from an educational perspective.

29 See, e.g., Schwöbel, C., ‘The Holy Trinity of International Legal Debate’, (2011) 24 LJIL 1035–56, examining in particular the political orientation assumed in the books under review in relation to the debate on constitutionalism.

30 See, e.g., Özsu, U., ‘The Question of Form: Methodological Notes on Dialectics and International Law’, (2010) 23 LJIL 687707, M. Paparinskis, ‘Investment Law of/for/before the Twenty-First Century’, (2012) 25 225–37, or Holtmaat, R., ‘Hovering Between Resistance and Compliance or Time to Take a Break from International Law? A Review of “Feminist Perspectives on Contemporary International Law”’, (2014) 27 LJIL 283.

31 See, e.g., R. Van Steenberghe, ‘The Law against War or Jus contra Bellum: A New Terminology for a Conservative View on the Use of Force?’, (2011) 24 747–88; or Kolb, R., ‘Discussion of T. H. Cheng's Monograph When International Law Works, and in Particular a Defence of the Nicaragua Judgment of the ICJ’, (2013) 26 LJIL 751–66.

* Associate Professor of Law, Director of Studies, and Head of the LUC Research Centre, Leiden University; Visiting Professor, World Trade Institute (WTI), Berne University; and Associate Lawyer with VVGB (Brussels). Since 2010, she has been the senior book review editor of the Leiden Journal of International Law (‘LJIL’).

** Research Fellow, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies. He has been a book review editor with LJIL since 2008.

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Leiden Journal of International Law
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