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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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« The Case Against the Luddites | Main | JD Lasica Guest Blogging on Copyfight »

June 07, 2005

Open Access Law Project Launches

Posted by Ernest Miller

Copyfight reports on the launch of the Open Access Law Program, which intends to do for legal scholarship what Science Commons has done for scientific publications (Science Commons Promotes Open Access to Legal Scholarship).

The first and only author (so far) to sign the pledge is Larry Lessig. On the other hand, as of this writing, there are 21 journals that have signed up: Open Access Law: Adopting Journals.

The basic concept is a good idea and open access to legal information is something I've argued for years (I still think it is a scandal that the government hasn't digitized and made all court cases available online in a standard format). Beyond primary sources, law journals would be ideal, and I've tried (and failed) to convince some very prominent ones to adopt some sort of open model. Looks like this model is having more success.

However, this is only the first step. Even for the law journals that adopt this pledge, much more needs to be done.

A couple of last questions: why not simply have the journals that do sign publish the works directly, if the authors have similarly signed, into an Open Access Repository at the end of the limited exclusive license, rather than leave it up to the authors? And why no call on OAL Journals to proselytize Creative Commons to its authors?

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