Friday, August 07, 2015

IPSC: closing comments

Closing Plenary Session
Joshua Sarnoff, DePaul University College of Law: Size affects nature of presentation, time, allotted, depth of development, audience participation.  Makes a personal promise to read papers in sessions he plans to go to—thinks that this will improve the quality of the interactions.  [I do this every year, but not all the papers are available.  I think that people should commit to reading at least some number of the papers at panels they go to, because that improves the discussion a lot.]  More encouragement of collaboration.
Money: funding scholarship, especially empirical scholarship is an issue, as is detaching main universities from viewing law school as a cash cow. 
Pamela Samuelson, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

How to enrich your scholarship through IPSC.  Consider teaching with a nonlawyer expert if there’s a topic that you might want to write on with them.  Working with people with different expertise from you is a good idea; we are too often discouraged from co-authorship and that becomes a habit even post-tenure. You can learn new methods, enrich your own intellectual life. IPSC can serve as a network for finding the right people.
Consider your larger audience: figure out who reads what and write for the right audience.  She routinely writes for the Communications of the ACM, with 100,000 members around the world.  Important because it helps computing professionals community to become much more active in IP debates—they write letters, speeches, testify to Congress—activating a group is important too. If you want to create a group that doesn’t yet exist, create it—she created a nonprofit last year, Authors Alliance.  But you can’t find out whether you can make a difference in solving problems unless you give it a try. 
Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Stanford Law School
Collegiality/welcoming is a big benefit of coming here.
Brett Frischmann, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Collective research agenda: what are the substantive areas of IP scholarship that are most promising/untapped.  Are we going for too much low-hanging fruit/branches that are picked clean? Would have to be pluralist agenda.  Methodological approach depends on our objective.  Though we should be pluralist in our audiences, we should have priorities in who we want to communicate w/: public, policymakers, lawyers.  There are consistent market and other pressures that can drive us in an undesirable direction if we’re not conscious about it. 
Have we emphasized quantity over quality? Driven towards more publications/year, but sometimes less is more.  Slow thinking.  Counterargument: Twitter etc. are forms of commentary that are more useful than traditional law reviews.  But let’s think about the appropriate answers as a community!
We too often reinvent the wheel without credit to prior authors. Not just a failure of citation, but failure to engage with the earlier work.  Reading lists, canons, boot camps?  Limitations of every approach.  But at least reflect the value of core training in the literature—we could do this better consciously and collectively. 
Could add a day at IPSC dedicated to mentorship for VAPs and junior profs by senior profs. We have prepublication peer review at conferences like this, and postpublication peer review at blogs, Jotwell, etc. This is a service to the community, but we could do it in a more coherent way. We could use other peer review systems.  Engagement w/other disciplines = valuable feedback.
Burk: didn’t want paper published on open internet.  Could we do a restricted site?  Would get more papers.  [Dropbox is a good option for this.]
Carroll: push harder on presenters to have clear thesis statement—richer conversation about thesis, audience, question tried to answer w/thesis.
Barrett: what about peer review/picking papers for IPSC?
Samuelson: Tried it; was incredibly unpopular. Important norm: people who are very junior feel like they’ll lose out. If they can’t present, they can’t justify coming to the conference.  Too winner take all. 
Barrett: unblinded does that, but blinding helps fellows/junior people.
Lemley: Disagrees, b/c there’s no such thing as blind peer review in a community of 200 people.  Peer reviewed journals are very political; they are not timely—3 ½ year waits.  Not sure they’re necessary in a community that has peer review at places like IPSC.  But veto power over paper is less important.
Samuelson: I learned that there were some papers I wanted to write that I wasn’t yet ready to write. If I’d tried to do an abstract/presentation for them, I might have learned I wasn’t ready yet.  Good idea for junior/midlevel scholars: keep a list of things you’d like to write and do things that build but go sideways from that, so you can come back.  Issues I’m interested in circle around, and my thinking matures over time. 
Q: have someone present the paper for you.
Frischmann: Tried it.  60% liked, 40% hated it.  [Why not have it be opt-in?  Guarantee someone reacts to your paper.]
Buccafusco: likes experimentation.
Q: suggest people you’d like to present with?  Opt-in discussion-only version—zero summary of the paper and the expectation is that the presenter will have a draft and the commenters will have read it.  [I like it.]
Kathy Strandberg: Emphasizing the idea that you should read the papers for the track you pick.  More time for people who submit a paper. [Yes!]
Ramsey: Not a lot of papers, good to see what people are working on.  But also good to have indepth commentary—have both kinds of conferences. But many people need to speak to get funding. Maybe commenting would be enough for people who need funding.
Q: Streaming and other ways to have commentary would accommodate people who can’t attend for one reason or another.

1 comment:

  1. Privacy Law Scholars Conference works on the model of having someone else do a 10-minute summary of the paper. It works really well IMO -- a reader is often able to gel the main point(s) better than the author him or herself. Another plus: it forces everyone to have a draft by or near the deadline. Participants are repeatedly encouraged to read every paper they will attend. The discussion tends to be going around the room collecting everyone's reactions, except in the bigger sessions. However, there is more time allotted per paper and so I assume fewer papers.