Open Access Publishing in the Legal Academy
The openness of law schools'journals is largely due to history rather than deliberate planning. It gives law schools a huge potential leg up in entering the digital knowledge network, but because it's arisen by happenstance, it's also vulnerable to being undermined. It would be ironic indeed if, as the rest of academia moves towards openness that law schools could be at risk of being hemmed in.
Gene proceeds to outline some fundamental steps for an action plan for open access publishing in the legal academy. Check out his post, Harvard's open publishing policy and the outlook for law schools. I encourage you to submit your thoughts to Gene in the form of comments to his post. [JH]
Harvard Faculty Adopts Open Access Requirement
The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that requires faculty members to allow the university to make their scholarly articles available free online. I believe this is a first and it opens the door for other universities and colleges to adopt similar policies.
Here's the text, provided by Open Access News:
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Dean or the Dean’s designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need.
To assist the University in distributing the articles, each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Provost’s Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository.
The Office of the Dean will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty.
Should You Be Using DSpace?
DSpace is a centralized, electronic repository for the massive amounts of intellectual property created by research institutions. It can be used for a variety of digital archiving needs -- from institutional repositories to learning object repositories or electronic records management, and more.
Law schools tend to look to SSRN and bePress for their digial archiving needs but both are limited to scholarly text-based works in ADA non-complaint PDF formats and both leave much to be desired in metadata practices. DSpace can be used for all digital formats and may be either a viable alternative to SSRN and beSpace or an opportunity to create a more comprehensive institutional repository.
The DSpace engine is an open-source storage and retrieval system that individual repositories can customize and extend. Before attempting to reinvent the wheel, DSpace is worth checking out. It's well beyond the early adapter stage.
Jointly developed by HP and the MIT Libraries beginning in 2002, the DSpace project is now supported by the aptly named DSpace Foundation. According to DSpace, there are currently 261 DSpace instances registered on ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories). That's 26% of the 968 repositories registered on ROAR. See Who's Using DSpace. [JH]