Empirical Legal Scholarship as Scientific Dialogue
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
This paper considers how the scientific status of empirical legal scholarship might be enhanced. The leading proposal for making empirical legal research more scientific is to move to a system of peer review for research reports. Although a move to pre-publication peer review might well improve the quality of empirical legal research, the probability of a widespread adoption of peer review by law reviews is low. A more feasible reform is for law reviews to adopt a set of stringent disclosure requirements designed to foster critical review and replication of empirical legal research. Adherence to such disclosure rules would increase the objectivity of empirical legal research by forcing researchers to commit publicly to definite empirical propositions in reproducible terms and would facilitate the systematic accumulation of knowledge about legal phenomena using meta-analysis.