Thursday, April 8, 2010

The need to conduct sufficient background research


Yesterday I commented on a paper by Matthew R.  Hoffman in the Iowa Law Review. My attention had been drawn to the paper by Derek Fincham. I now stand rebuked by Fincham in a further post, "On Polite Discourse".

Fincham accepts that there were problems with the paper:
Hoffman certainly makes some mistakes, and one of the common mistakes legal writers fall into is they can often write elegantly, but fail to conduct enough background research into an area before jumping in.
The thing to remember is that the paper was not a piece of assessed course work, but an academic article that appeared in the Iowa Law Review. And Fincham is quick to remind us that the Iowa Law Review is a "well-respected legal journal". (See journal website.) So perhaps Fincham needs to ask how the editors and the anonymous referees failed to spot the "mistakes" (as Fincham puts it) in the paper?

Is it "aggressive criticism" to say "Hoffman's article has failed to engage with the current debate over 'the international movement of antiquities'"?


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4 comments:

Alexander Bauer said...

The problem is, no matter how "respected" the law journal, law reviews published by law schools are not peer-reviewed journals. Hence, while they may publish some great papers, many ones that are merely thoroughly referenced but mediocre are published too. Now if only there were a peer-reviewed journal on cultural property legal issues.... :)

David Gill said...

Alex
Thank you for bringing us all back to earth! The key thing is that we need to be sure of the quality and reliability of the articles published in the journals.
Are you suggesting such papers should be offered to a certain cultural property journal published by Cambridge University Press?
With best wishes
David

Wayne G. Sayles said...

I agree that Alexander's assessment is reasonable. But, when I hear the words "Peer Reviewed" I cringe because to me that means only academic review and others, not being peers, are often left to read the views of like-minded people. Peerage is an archaic concept that needs some modification in our age.

David Gill said...

There needs to be a review by informed readers prior to acceptance for publication.

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