New Developments in Open Access to Law

As a signatory to the Durham Statement and a proponent of open access to scholarship and to law, I am pleased to bring two items to your attention.  Tom Bruce, co-founder and director of the Legal Information Institute, has announced the first issue of the Journal of Open Access to Law. Quoting liberally from Tom’s announcement: “Two ideas motivate JOAL.  The first is that there should be a place to present work about open access to law that can stand on its own.  Because it is so often imagined as “law-and” research, our work is communicated via the journals of other disciplines, and sometimes its unique flavor has been lost.  Too, open access to law touches and is touched by research on a number of levels:  work in information science that provides practical publishing, organizing, and retrieval techniques; policy research that addresses the “why” of open access to law;  and open access as a new-found agora in which the public is encountering legal information and, as a result, acting in ways that are very poorly understood.  The second idea is that academic research needs, most of all, to find an audience within the community of legal publishers who can make good use of it for practical ends.”

Second, I commend to you a post by Sarah Glassmeyer, law librarian by profession and Director of Community Development for CALI, titled “Give Open a Chance in Law.” Sarah’s post is a pretty quick read that nevertheless give a strong argument for the need for open access to legal information in advancing access to justice, legal education, and better legal practice. It’s an excellent primer on the need to push for open access.

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