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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Galle: Why Is It So Hard to Place a Tax Article?

Brian Galle (Boston College), Why Is It So Hard to Publish an IP/Tax/Admiralty/WeirdLaw Article?:

“We would have accepted this article in February,” one editor-in-chief kindly wrote me not long ago, “but we’ve already accepted a tax article this year.”  At the time, I took this as likely an editor’s version of “I have to wash my hair” and tried not to take it too seriously.  A couple of  weeks ago, though, at the OJ ... a recent Chicago Law Review editor said much the same thing: once his journal takes an article from a “specialty” field, the bar is much higher for other pieces in the same field. ... What’s most vexing ... is that it’s driven entirely by the assumption that available slots are limited.  Why not just park the second excellent tax article in the next volume?  Well, that’s a thornier one.  Let’s pause for comment & come back for a Part II.

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I'm sure this won't be popular, but I think the relatively low quality of most tax articles is a big part of it. Most of the articles that I see posted on TaxProf are either technical in nature or concern issues that are not of concern to people outside the field. If you look thirty of forty years ago, when the articles were more accessible and there was less competition for other fields, tax articles generally placed better.

Posted by: mike livingston | May 27, 2011 3:00:27 AM

Livingston is right. To illustrate, on the economic substance doctrine, the tax professoriate has not succeeded in moving the ball very far past the 10-year-old Compaq decision. For the most part, recent published ESD scholarship builds little (in this tax practitioner's eyes, at least) on what Shaviro and Weisbach had to say about Compaq years ago. See, for example, the O'Reilly article posted on this blog on May 24.

Posted by: Jake | May 27, 2011 8:05:28 AM

Too many "academic" tax articles today are simplistic, unoriginal, and boring (this from someone who never writes any.) A common example is one which claims that the ObamaCare mandate is a legal tax, completely ignoring that hundreds of others have already covered this same thing and completely ignoring that the Administration's legal defense is that the mandate is not a tax. That's not exactly breaking new ground. However, professors are required to write something, so why not try to be popular if they cannot be useful? It shows laziness.

Posted by: Woody | May 28, 2011 12:01:48 AM

Woody: In litigation, as an alternative to its primary argument under the Commerce Clause, the Administration has in fact argued that the individual mandate is authorized by the Taxing Clause. You need to read a few more of those articles.

Posted by: Erik Jensen | May 31, 2011 12:26:26 PM