Gaming the Article Title

Article titles are important because researchers often use keyword searching in the title field to find articles that are highly relevant to their research.

421975855_1280x720Not only is a title important for discoverability, it’s also important to catch the attention of a potential reader and up article views and downloads for impact purposes.

Brian Leiter over at the Law Professor Blogs Network recently highlighted a story illustrating how to game the article title to increase downloads.

I have an article with the (admittedly extremely boring) title “Rethinking Assignor Estoppel” coming out in the Houston Law Review. It has been on SSRN for nine months. I have posted about it twice on Facebook and Twitter, and it has shown up in all the SSRN journals. In that nine months it has garnered 982 views and 172 SSRN downloads.

Late Friday afternoon, prompted by some friends teasing me for the boring headline, I posted the exact same article, with the exact same abstract, but with a new, click-baity title: “Inventor Sued for Infringing His Own Patent. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next.” I did this in part as a joke, and in part as an unscientific test to see how susceptible law professors were to clickbait.

The answer is, quite susceptible indeed. In less than two hours on a Friday night the number of views for this “new” article surpassed the old one. In 26 hours, by late Saturday, more people had downloaded the new article than the old one, even though before downloading you are exposed to the same old boring abstract. And by the end of the weekend, the article had been viewed nearly six times as often as the original and downloaded three times as often as the original.

The article will soon appear in the Houston Law Review under its old, boring title. But it sure looks like titles matter.

Authors would do well to keep this in mind when naming an article. This, coupled with a long, jargon-filled abstract, may just be the key to article impact success.

Easy New Way to Locate Government Documents

The U.S. Publishing Office has a new way to locate government documents. They have created the “Catalog of U.S. Government Publications” or CGP for short.  While the name may not be exciting, the search engine is pretty neat.

This search engine will let the user search for a government publication by name, author, subject, keyword, or government document number.  Use this search engine to locate a government document published anytime from the 1800’s to present day.


Once you find a document, the record will let you know where the document is located.  If there is a link to the electronic copy, you can access the document immediately.


If the document is only available in paper or you need to see a paper copy, you can search to see where the closest Federal Depository Library is that owns the document. Once you know where the document is located you can go and view the document.


This is a great site for anyone who needs to locate a government document.  Many of the documents published today have electronic versions so these items are just a click away!

Just in case you didn’t realize, Texas Tech University is a regional depository library, which means they own everything!  Well….they own an extensive collection of government documents.  This is great news, since it’s highly likely that any government document you are looking for will be available online, in the Law Library, or at the Main University Library.

Good luck hunting for government documents!  Remember, if you need help finding a document you can always contact a Law Librarian for help.


Open Access Week Oct. 24-30


This year’s Open Access Week theme of “Open in Action” is all about taking concrete steps to open up research and scholarship and encouraging others to do the same.

One way to open up research and scholarship is through open educational resources (OER). The Hewlitt Foundation defines Open Educational Resources as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or are released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.”

To truly be open, the OER resources should be free and have the 5 R’s of reuse rights:

  • Retain
  • Reuse
  • Revise
  • Remix
  • Redistribute

If you are interested in making your educational resources open, Creative Commons is a wonderful way to release course content under an open intellectual property license that allows for the 5 R’s of reuse rights.

The benefits of open educational resources cannot be overstated. To show OER impact, one must look no further than the cost of textbooks:

  • Since 2002, college textbook costs have increased 82% (GAO)
  • 2 in 3 students say they decided against buying a textbook because the cost is too high (Student PIRGs)
  • 1 in 3 students say at some point they earned a poor grade because they could not afford to buy the textbook (Student Survey)
  • 1 in 2 students say they have at some point taken fewer courses due to the cost of textbooks.

OER would make textbooks free to students. And a multi-institutional study in the Journal of Computing in Higher Education shows that open textbook adoption has the following impacts on learning outcomes of post-secondary students:

  • higher or equivalent grades
  • higher average credit load
  • higher or equivalent completion rates

Ultimately, using OER in 1 course per year could save US students $1.42 billion (Student PIRGs).

If you would like to find and use open educational resources, The University of Minnesota created an Open Textbook Library that is a “tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions.”

Have a happy Open Access Week!

August 2016 Law Faculty Publications & News

Throughout August 2016, the Law Library’s Faculty Services & Scholarly Communications Department received alerts for full-time TTU Law Faculty publications and news. Below is the compilation of daily alerts for August 1, 2016 to August 31, 2016.


  1. Gerry W. Beyer, Beyer’s Texas Property Code Annotated with Related Texas Law (2016 ed.).


  1. Arnold Loewy & Charles Moster, It’s Debatable: Commenting in Anonymity, Lubbock Avalanche-J. (Aug. 7, 2016, 12:02 AM),
  2. Arnold Loewy & Charles Moster, It’s Debatable: Is Supreme Court’s UT Ruling Good or Bad?, Lubbock Avalanche-J. (Aug. 21, 2016, 12:12 AM),


  1. Professor Camp’s article, Form Over Substance in Fifth Circuit Tax Cases, was cited in the following article: Susan C. Morse & Robert Deutsch, Tax Anti-Avoidance Law in Australia and the United States, 49 Int’l Law. 111 (2016).
  1. Professor Soonpaa’s article, Stress in Law Students: A Comparative Study of First-Year, Second-Year, and Third-Year Law Students, was cited in the following article: Todd David Peterson, The Moral Obligation of Law Schools to Address Law Student Wellbeing: A Review Essay About the Happy Lawyer, 30 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 67 (2016).
  1. Dean Dickerson’s articles, Deposition Dilemmas: Vexation Scheduling and Errata Sheets and The Law and Ethics of Civil Depositions, were cited in the following article: Matthew Rogers & Suzanne Valdez, “Retreat to the Boundary of the Rules”: Resurrecting Professionalism in Depositions and the Implications of Gamesmanship for Kansas Practitioners, 64 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1065 (2016).
  1. Professor Murhpy’s treatise, Administrative Law and Practice, was cited in the following article: Jonathan S. Marashlian et al., Confusion, Uncertainty, and Fear: How the FCC’s Increased Reliance on Adjudication is Harming Carriers, Competition, Consumers, and Investment, 68 Fed. Comm. L.J. 207 (2016).
  1. Professor Christopher’s article, Eye of the Beholder: How Perception Management Can Counter Stereotype Threat Among Struggling Law Students, was cited in the following article: Judith Welch Wegner, Contemplating Competence: Three Meditations, 50 Val. U. L. Rev. 675 (2016).
  1. Professor Rosen’s article, Civilian Courts and the Military Justice System: Collateral Review of Courts-Martial, was cited in the following article: Christian R. Burset, Merchant Courts, Arbitration, and the Politics of Commercial Litigation in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire, 34 Law & Hist. Rev. 615 (2016).
  1. Professor Metze’s article, Plugging the School to Prison Pipeline by Addressing Cultural Racism in Public Education Discipline, was cited in the following article: Jason P. Nance, Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Tools for Change, 48 Ariz. St. L.J. 313 (2016).
  1. Professor Krahmer’s article, Foreign Currency Instruments Under the U.C.C., was cited in the following statute: U.C.C. § 4-212 (Am. Law Inst. & Unif. Law Comm’n 2016).
  1. Professor Krahmer’s article, Commercial Transactions, was cited in the following statute: U.C.C. § 1-201 (Am. Law Inst. & Unif. Law Comm’n 2016).
  1. Professor Pawlowic’s article, Framework for Analysis of Tranfer, Assignment, Negotiation, and Transfer by Operation of Law, was cited in the following provisions of the U.C.C.: U.C.C. §§ 5-101, 5-111, 5-116, 5-106, 5-103 (Am. Law Inst. & Unif. Law Comm’n 2016).
  1. Professor Weninger’s article, The Abolition of Plea Bargaining: A Case Study of El Paso County, Texas, was cited in the following article: Russell D. Covery, Plea Bargaining and Price Theory, 84 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 920 (2016).
  1. Professor Casto’s book, The Supreme Court in the Early Republic, was cited in the following article: John O. McGinnis, The Duty of Clarity, 84 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 843 (2016).
  1. Professor Murphy’s article, Separation of Powers and the Horizontal Force of Precedent, was cited in the following article: John O. McGinnis, The Duty of Clarity, 84 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 843 (2016).
  1. Professor Velte’s article, So You Want to Have a Second Child? Second Child Bias and the Justification-Suppression Model of Prejudice in Family Responsibilities Discrimination, was cited in the following article: Julie Manning Magid, Cloaking: Public Policy and Pregnancy, 53 Am. Bus. L.J. 439 (2016).
  1. Professor Benham’s article, Dirty Secrets: The First Amendment in Protective-Order Litigation, was cited in the following article: Craig Smith et al., Finding A Balance Between Securing Confidentiality and Preserving Court Transparency: A Re-Visit of Rule 76A and its Application to Unfiled Discovery, 69 SMU L. Rev. 309 (2016).
  1. Professor Weninger’s article, Electronic Discovery and Sanctions For Spoliations: Perspectives From the Classroom, was cited in the following treatise: 14 Washin. Prac., Civil Procedure § 21:28 (2ed.) (2016).
  1. Professor Benham’s article, Beyond Congress’s Reach: Constitutional Aspects of Inherent Power, was cited in the following article: Kevin M. Clermont, Civil Procedure’s Five Big Ideas, 2016 Mich. St. L. Rev. 55 (2016).
  1. Professor Beyer’s article, Pet Animals: What Happens When Their Humans Die?, was cited in the following article: Kelsey Kobil, When It Comes To Standing, Two Legs Are Better Than Four, 120 Penn St. L. Rev. 621 (2016).
  1. Professor Beyer’s article, Cyber Estate Planning and Administration, was cited in the following article: Jared Walker, Return of the UFADAA: How Texas and Other States’ Adoption of the RUFADAA Can Change the Internet, 8 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 577 (2016).
  1. Professor Beyer’s article, Decanting is Not Just for Sommeliers, was cited in the following article: Caroline M. Watson, Why Oh Why Wyoming: Why Connecticut Should Amend Its Trust Situs Laws And Move Onward And Westward With Wyoming, 29 Quinnipiac Prob. L.J. 469 (2016).
  1. Professor Beyer’s article, 2015 Texas Estate Planning Legislative Update, was cited in the following article: Brent Debnam, Deadly Intentions: Posthumously Modifying Unambiguous Wills to Protect the Actual Intentions of Texas’s Testators, 8 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 461 (2016).
  1. Professor Velte’s article, Obergefell’s Expressive Promise, was cited in the following article: Morgan Shell, Transgender Student-Athletes in Texas School Districts: Why Can’t the UIL Give All Students Equal Playing Time, 48 Tex. Tech. L. Rev. 1043 (2016).
  1. Professor Beyer’s book, Modern Legal Dictionary For The Legal Profession, was cited in the following article: Yoshinori H.T. Himel, Americans’ Misuse of “Internment,” 14 Seattle J. for Soc. Just. 797 (2016).
  1. Professor Murphy’s article, Abandoning Standing: Trading a Rule of Access for a Rule of Deference, was citing in the following article: Rachel Bayefsky, Psychological Harm and Constitutional Standing, 81 Brook. L. Rev. 1555 (2016).


  1. Professor Beyer was interviewed by VICE news about pet trusts. The article can be found here.
  2. Professor Rosen was interviewed by POLITIFACT about military and court-martial laws. The article can be found here.


  1. Professor Beyer’s pet trust expertise was highlighted in Vice Media article: Jules Suzdaltsev, Why Rich People Set Up Trust Funds for Their Pets, Vice, July 31, 2016 (containing extensive interview with Prof. Beyer).
  2. On August 19, 2016, Prof. Gerry W. Beyer was an invited speaker at the annual Advanced Estate Planning Conference sponsored by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants in San Antonio, Texas. His presentation, attended by over 300 CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals, was entitled Anticipating Will Contests and How to Avoid Them.
  3. On August 7th, Professor Tracy Pearl delivered a talk entitled “50 Years Later: Miranda & The Police” at the Southeastern Association of Law School’s 2016 Conference on Amelia Island in Florida.
  4. On August 17, 2016, Prof. Gerry W. Beyer was the speaker at a two-hour program in Kansas City sponsored by the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City. His presentation was entitled Digital Assets, Pets, and Guns: Estate Planning Does Not Include Just Grandma’s Cameo Brooch Anymore.
  5. The Governor’s Task Force on Infectious Diseases met in Austin, Monday August 8th, and member, Prof. Victoria Sutton participated. The charge of the Task Force includes making recommendations regarding Texas responses to Zika.
  6. Dean Amy L. Jarmon presented on a panel at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) annual conference in August on the topic “Adapting to New Realities in Legal Education.”

Publish in Open Access Law Reviews for Higher Scholarly Impact

The Law Librarians blog posted about a paper by James Donovan, Carol Watson, and Caroline Osborne on SSRN called The Open Access Advantage for American Law Reviews.

imgresFrom the article:
In answer to law faculty questions about how participation in an open access repository will affect the works’ impact, the present research offers a definitive reply. When looking at citation by other law reviews to all the author’s work, the averaged increase in citations in flagship journals is 53%. In general, half of these cites will be dispensed in the first six years after the article’s publication. OA articles will attract more attention earlier in the lifecycle of the publication, and endure longer on the intellectual stage.

For authors, the message is clear: The open access advantage is real, sizable, and consistent. The minimal effort to upload an article onto an OA platform such as SSRN or a school’s repository pays rich dividends in the currency of subsequent citations in law reviews and court decisions.

From the abstract:
Articles available in open access formats enjoy an advantage in citation by subsequent law review works of 53%. For every two citations an article would otherwise receive, it can expect a third when made freely available on the Internet. This benefit is not uniformly spread through the law school tiers. Higher tier journals experience a lower OA advantage (11.4%) due to the attention such prestigious works routinely receive regardless of the format. When focusing on the availability of new scholarship, as compared to creating retrospective collections, the aggregated advantage rises to 60.2%. While the first tier advantage rises to 16.8%, the mid-tiers skyrocket to 89.7%. The fourth tier OA advantage comes in at 81.2%.

Citations of legal articles by courts is similarly impacted by OA availability. While the 15-year aggregate advantage is a mere 9.5%, new scholarship is 41.4% more likely to be cited by a court decision if it is available in open access format.

Make sure to upload to SSRN for discoverability. And upload your article to your institutional repository for good measure, too.

SPARC Addendum To Retain Copyright of Scholarly Work

As you submit articles this spring, keep in mind the language of the journal publication agreements.

Many academic authors inadvertently give away the copyright to their work by signing broad publication agreements that give the journals the copyright.

Generally, most law journals have amended their publication agreements to account for authors retaining copyright, thus retaining the ability to share their work (or use their work) as they see fit.images

But there are likely some journals that are behind in updating their publication agreements. If you want to use or share the work that you created, it is best to make sure that you retain the right to do so.

That’s where the SPARC Author Addendum may be useful. If you find that a publication agreement does not contain language allowing you to retain copyright, you might decide to include this addendum to ensure that you do, in fact, retain copyright.

Additionally, if you are unsure about the rights granted by specific journals, please visit SHERPA/RoMEO for more information about publisher copyright policies.