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May 7, 2008

Harvard votes YES to open access scholarship

Harvard Law School's faculty unanimously last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free. The school's announcement, issued today, notes that Harvard is the first law schol to make this commitment to open access. (Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences had also voted unanimously for open access in February.)

Joe asked what new innovations we might expect with the appointment of John Palfrey to Harvard's newly created position of Associate Dean of Library and Information Resources. Here is what he had to say about this new development:

This exciting development is something in which the whole Harvard Law School community can take great pride... The acceptance of open access ensures that our faculty's world-class scholarship is accessible today and into the future. I look forward to the work of implementing this commitment.

Law schools, quite unlike almost every other academic institution in the United States, occupy an enviable position because we almost all have retained full rights and permissions to our own scholarship. For all the grumbling faculty occasionally evince about student- rather than peer-edited journals, this has also proven a tremendous advantage for schools, as there are no contracts and rights to negotiate with third-party publishers. Thus legal scholarship has the potential to leap forward by large bounds with policies like Harvard's in place.

Update: Dean Wayne Miller correctly points out that Duke Law School has been pushing the Open Access agenda in their journals since 1997 and for all faculty scholarship since 2005. See his comment for more information, citations, etc.

May 7, 2008 in Scholarship -- online | Permalink


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This is a tremendous boost to open access within the legal education community, but it bears noting, as John Plafrey has done ( http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/palfrey/2008/05/08/duke-and-open-access/ ), that Duke Law School has been pursuing this same Open Access agenda with our journals since 1997 and in our own faculty scholarship repository since December of 2005 ( http://www.law.duke.edu/scholarship/repository ).

Richard Danner documents our commitment in a recent paper on the topic:

Danner, Richard A. (2007) Applying the Access Principle in Law: The Responsibilities of the Legal Scholar. International Journal of Legal Information, 35 . pp. 355-395, http://eprints.law.duke.edu/1698/

Wayne Miller
Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies

Posted by: Wayne Miller | May 9, 2008 10:02:38 AM

Sorry Wayne, no slight or oversight intended -- Duke deserves tremendous credit for your dedication to Open Access!

Posted by: Gene Koo | May 21, 2008 12:35:10 PM

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