The Special Case of Law Reviews

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sat Jan 1 01:17:48 EST 2005


    Prior AmSci Topic Thread:
    "The Special Case of Law Reviews" (2003-2004)
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/3192.html

        Walled Gardens
        by Dan Hunter
        Washington & Lee Law Review, Vol. 62, 2005
        http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=635141

        Abstract: The most significant recent development in scholarly
        publishing is the open access movement, which seeks to provide
        free online access to scholarly literature. Though this movement
        is well-developed in scientific and medical disciplines, American
        law reviews are almost completely unaware of the possibilities
        of open access publishing models. This Essay explains how open
        access publishing works, why it is important, and makes the case
        for its widespread adoption by law reviews. It also reports on a
        survey of law review publication policies conducted in 2004. This
        survey shows, inter alia, that few law reviews have embraced the
        opportunities of open access publishing, and many of the top
        law reviews are acting as stalking horses for the commercial
        interests of legal database providers. The open access model
        promises greater access to legal scholarship, wider readership
        for law reviews, and reputational benefits for law reviews and
        the law schools which house them. This Essay demonstrates how
        open access comports with the institutional aims of law schools
        and law reviews, and is better suited to the unique environment
        of legal publishing than the model that law reviews currently
        pursue. Moreover, the institutional structure of law reviews
        means that it is possible that the entire corpus of law reviews
        could easily move to an open access model, making law the first
        discipline with a realistic prospect of complete commitment to
        free, open access of all scholarly output.





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