Monday, December 18, 2006

Open Access Changing How We Think About Legal Scholarship

Carol A. Parker, the Law Library Director at the University of New Mexico School of Law, has written "Institutional Repositories and the Principle of Open Access: Changing the Way We Think About Legal Scholarship". The article appears in a forthcoming issue of the New Mexico Law Review but also free of charge on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and on bePress.

From the abstract:
"Open access to scholarship, that is, making scholarship freely available to the public via the Internet without subscription or access fees, is a natural fit for legal scholarship given our tradition of making government and legal information available to citizens, and the many benefits that flow from freely disseminating information for its own sake. Law schools, journals and scholars should espouse the principle of open access to legal scholarship, not only for the public good, but also for the enhanced visibility it provides journals and authors. Open access can be accomplished by archiving digital works in online institutional repositories. Legal scholars have enjoyed the benefits of open access to working paper repositories such as SSRN for more than ten years - even if they have not thought of this practice as 'open access.' It is a natural progression for legal scholars to now self-archive published works as well, and they are beginning to do so as awareness grows of the benefits of providing open access to published legal scholarship. Institutional repositories provide new ways to publish student scholarship, empirical data, teaching materials, and original historical documents uncovered during the research process. Author self-archiving does not threaten the existence of law school-subsidized journals, and institutional repositories generate new audiences for legal scholarship, including international and multidisciplinary audiences. Not insignificantly, repositories also help preserve digital work. Law schools are discovering that the publicity and download counts generated by repositories provide new ways to measure scholarly impact and reputation."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:56 pm


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