Friday, May 18, 2007

AustLII Needs Bucks

AustLII, the free online portal for Australasian law, is suffering from a bit of a cash crunch. AustLII, of course, is the Down Under counterpart of CanLII, the Canadian Legal Information Institute and a member of the worldwide Free Access to Law Movement.

"Until 2007 AustLII obtained major funding for the development of its services from the Law Foundation of NSW [New South Wales](1995-99) and the Australian Research Council LIEF fund (2000-2006). For the past seven years grants from this academic fund (...) have averaged $650,000 and have accounted for over 50% of AustLII’s annual budget. Although ARC LIEF funding for individual specific projects may be possible in the future, ARC funding for general expansion of AustLII services has now ceased. Consequently AustLII must seek stakeholder contributions from many institutions that have not provided them in the past".

"As a consequence of this drastic budget reduction, AustLII has, since December 2006, been forced to reduce its staff by more than one third, from 10 to 6.5 (...). Although as yet largely confined to a reduction of our international projects, the effect of these staff cuts will soon be felt in relation to AustLII’s Australian services. As of early 2007, AustLII’s recurrent funding from stakeholders will contribute only about half of the budget AustLII needs to maintain its core services. To balance its budget in 2007 AustLII needs to raise an additional $400,000. Otherwise there will be a reduction in AustLII services commencing in mid-2007. To achieve a stable core budget, AustLII needs to increase its number of recurrent stakeholder contributors to 100, assuming a $10,000 annual average contribution, or to find more substantial stakeholders representing the major sectors to which AustLII provides services".

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:33 pm

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