Building scholarly reputation in the age of Law 2.0


Professor Tony Arnold has enjoyed great success on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) with his paper, The Structure of the Land Use Regulatory System in the United States. Professor Arnold's paper recently ranked among the ten most frequently downloaded papers in SSRN's Law School Research Papers — Legal Studies Series.

Tony Arnold

The land use regulatory system has been criticized for causing or failing to solve social problems and for perceived inherent defects, such as inefficiency, inequality, and environmental harm. These criticisms fail to understand the land use regulatory system in the United States as a dynamic, functional, adaptive system.

This paper systematically analyzes the: 1) functions; 2) location and scale; 3) components; 4) processes; and 5) values of the land use regulatory system in the United States. If we are to improve our land use practices to be fairer, more efficient, and more ecologically responsible, we must understand how land use planning and regulation function and change over time.

Particular attention is given to the role of land use regulation as a mediator between people and places, between communities and power, and between freedom and boundaries. Additional attention is given to the broad array of forces shaping land use decisions, the “thinness” of land use law as a set of rules and limits (contrasted with its role as a source of tools, authority, and discretion), and the “patchiness” of land use regulatory authority in the United States.

This paper also examines a specific issue of law and policy: the extent to which the land use regulatory system can value and conserve ecosystem services — the humanly beneficial services that nature provides. The paper explores both barriers to and opportunities for accounting for ecosystem services in land use planning and regulation.

Professor Arnold's success represents merely one dividend among the many being generated by the University of Louisville Legal Studies Research Paper Series on SSRN. As I described in my original story on our participation in SSRN, subscribers to the UofL Law School's SSRN series will be the first to receive the latest updates on scholarship by our faculty.

Louisville Law's SSRN series

As of December 2, papers in the University of Louisville Legal Studies Research Paper Series have generated 9,299 downloads. As the leading online distribution network for scholarship in law and allied social sciences, SSRN connects our Law School's faculty to their peers in law and related fields. The network enables us to receive prepublication comments from their peers. As Professor Arnold's success illustrates, SSRN also serves as a distribution network, before and after publication, that maximizes exposure for our scholarship.

Selected Works

I hasten to add that SSRN is not the only method by which the Law School is promoting its faculty's scholarship. The Berkeley Electronic Press (BEPress) offers a service called Selected Works. The University of Louisville's BEPress/Selected Works page provides yet another distribution network, like SSRN, that connects interested readers within the academy and beyond with the members of our intellectually active faculty.

SSRN downloads and actual citation counts represent the most readily quantified — and arguably the most reliable — gauges of scholarly accomplishment in law. The rise of Law 2.0 gives open distribution networks such as SSRN and BEPress a decided advantage over subscriber-financed, proprietary networks such as WestLaw and Lexis/Nexis. To be sure, SSRN and BEPress operate on a for-profit basis. By describing them as "open" networks, I mean solely that access to works stored on SSRN and BEPress is available without charge to readers.

Today's law schools operate in a technological environment marked by its cheapness, its ubiquity, and its extreme efficiency. The students we teach today, to say nothing of their successors and their future clients, are all wired — and wireless — in a world lit by lightning. The democratization and diffusion of technology and legal expertise is rapidly transferring power from the centralized authorities of a "cathedral" model of legal education to the decentralized "bazaar" model of Law 2.0.

Law 2.0 makes it easy to advance our Law School's academic reputation:

  1. Visit the University of Louisville Legal Studies Research Paper Series and subscribe to our SSRN series.

  2. Visit the University of Louisville's Selected Works page. BEPress, the publisher of Selected Works, offers multiple options for receiving notices of our faculty's latest contributions to the Law School's Selected Works series, including a dedicated  RSS feed.

Whatever you download, be sure to read our scholarship. We're confident you'll learn a great deal.