Tag: open access

Gallimaufry

GallimaufryDr Johnson defined gallimaufry as

1. A hoch-poch …
2. Any inconsistent or ridiculous medley. …

Here’s a hoch-poch, or hotch-potch (though, of course, not a hotchpot) of links relevant to the themes of this blog that have caught my eye over the last while:

First, an Article 10 Right of Reply? considers the various routes to a legally enforceable right to reply to inaccurate information in the same medium where the original statements were published. In this post, Andrea Martin argued that such a development is neither necessary nor desirable, but that a voluntary scheme operated by broadcast media would have a lot to recommend it.

Second, the Irish judiciary has signalled support for setting up a judicial council, a development anticipated by the ICCL in 2007 which I welcomed at the time.

Third, Slate recently published No More Bullet Points, No More Clip Art (h/t Oisín, offline) arguing that “PowerPoint isn’t evil if you learn how to use it”. But so many people fail to learn how to use it that I have no doubt that my antipathy will continue.

Fourth, a story in the Independent on Plagiarism and PhDs: how to deal with copying says that it “may seem counter-intuitive but postgraduates are more likely to commit plagiarism than undergraduates”. Whether postgrads or undergrads – or of that matter, postdocs, lecturers or professors – we must all be on our guard against plagiarism in the academy.

Fifth, I have long been a strong supporter of open access to academic information, so I am heartened to learn that over 20% of the world’s scholarly journals now open access! (Kudos to DOAJ)

Sixth, Thinspiration: Still legal in the U.S.! picks up the proposed French legislation which I discussed in my post on incitement to anoxeria.

Seventh, the online challenge to traditional third-level education gathers pace: U of California Considers Online Classes, or Even Degrees the University of California “hope to put $5-million to $6-million into a pilot project that could clear the way for the system to offer online undergraduate degrees and push distance learning further into the mainstream …”

Eighth, a woman jailed by a Chicago judge for 2 days for wearing an offensive T-shirt to court recalls my post If t-shirts could talk …, discussing a similar Irish case and a more serious US example (there’s also an earlier Illinois example). Cohen v California 403 US 15 (1971) anyone?

Announcing the Irish Law Quarterly

Image from Boole Library website, UCCIt is exciting news that there is to be a new online peer-reviewed Irish law journal, the Irish Law Quarterly. (Don’t be cynical: it is exciting news; and the world – or at least Ireland – really does need another one). According to the home page:

The ILQ is an innovative journal which aims at broad coverage of legal issues, national and international, both purely doctrinal and interdisciplinary. We aim at a diversity of high quality discussion of the law from any angle. Both commentary on current matters and more considered pieces are invited.

The ILQ is run by members of the Faculty of Law, UCC; and it is supported by a grant from the National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL – I have a similar list in the comments to this post). Contributions are encouraged and readers are needed. Both will benefit: the ILQ will consist of the full mix of articles, review articles, book reviews, notes and comments, and in doing so it will provide another outlet for academic scholarship and considered debate about important legal topics.

Publication will be online (and, as a bonus, the website has a wonderful collection of links to other similar online journals). This is undoubtedly a good thing. But although I fully support this kind of open online publication, I have one quibble; it seems that publication is only to be in pdf format – now, pdf is a good thing if you want to print it out, and it is often a good thing if you want to read onscreen. However, in my view, it is not so good if you want to navigate on screen. For that, a html version is much better. In a perfect world, the ILQ would come in both flavours; but this is a very minor quibble about what is otherwise a very exciting development.

Read the website, email the journal, write something for it, and read it when it’s published. Long may it prosper!

Open access in the Irish Times

Open Access logo, via Wikipedia.I have written several times on this blog about open access journals, and I have re-posted some of the wickedly funny cartoons served up daily by Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD). Open access journals are the focus of PhD’s cartoon yesterday (it’s too big to repost here, but click through and enjoy – then come back here for the rest of this post!) (update: I’m not the only one who has used this cartoon as a jumping off point to discuss the future of online scientific publications – Lukas Ahrenberg does too). In one of those rare cases of serendipity which the universe’s roll of the dice can throw up, Quinn Norton has an excellent introductory piece on open access in yesterday’s Irish Times; here are some extracts (with added links):

Open Access leads the way in promoting academic research

WIRED : Scholars are embracing the internet to bypass publishers and speed the process of research

… In the mid-1990s Peter Suber, a research professor of philosophy at Earlham College in the US, got on the internet and learned how to make web pages. Like many in academia, he decided to post his papers. He was delighted with the response. “I was just playing with a new tool (html) and started receiving correspondences from philosophers,” he says. “I wrote for impact, and I was finally getting impact.”

He and others began to see the web as a way to bypass the publishers and speed the process of research. … The idea became the Open Access movement. A meeting in 2002 produced the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which defined Open Access as “Free availability on the public internet . . . without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.” (more…)

New Open Source Law Journal

FSFE logo, via the FSFE website.The European Legal Network, a professional network of legal experts facilitated by the Freedom Task Force which promotes free software licensing as part of the work of the Free Software Foundation Europe, has just announced the launch of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review. It is a peer reviewed biannual journal for high-level analysis and debate about Free and Open Source Software legal issues, and it will receive financial and administrative support from the NLNet Foundation, which supports organizations and people that contribute to an open information society. Edited by Andrew Katz and Amanda Brock, its focus includes copyright, licence implementation, licence interpretation, software patents, open standards, case law and statutory changes. Unsurprisingly, it operates a strong Open Access Policy, providing immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

Open Source Logo, via the OSI website.Given recent developments relating to Creative Commons licences for Ireland, I was particularly taken by two pieces in the first issue discussing Jacobsen v Katzer and Kamind Associates 535 F.3d 1373 (Fed.Cir.2008) (pdf), in which the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit granted a preliminary injunction to enforce the terms of the OSI‘s open source Artistic Licence (see JOLT | Lessig | OSI | Stanford CIS; Brian F Fitzgerald and Rami Olwan “The legality of free and open source software licences: the case of Jacobsen v. Katzer” in Mark Perry and Brian F Fitzgerald (eds) Knowledge Policy for the 21st Century (Irwin Law, Canada, forthcoming) (abstract).

Long may the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review prosper!

Back to the future of law reviews?

Library stacks, via Concurring OpinionsThere are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.

Fred Rodell “Goodbye to Law Reviews” 23 Virginia Law Review 38 (1936) at 38.


Leaving aside their citation styles, there may be a third problem with law reviews: their paper format. The Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, calling for the wholesalde abandonment of paper in favour of exclusively online publication, has been causing a small stir of late:

Objective: The undersigned believe that it will benefit legal education and improve the dissemination of legal scholarly information if law schools commit to making the legal scholarship they publish available in stable, open, digital formats in place of print. To accomplish this end, law schools should commit to making agreed-upon stable, open, digital formats, rather than print, the preferable formats for legal scholarship. If stable, open, digital formats are available, law schools should stop publishing law journals in print and law libraries should stop acquiring print law journals. ….

See Berkman | Goodson Blogson | Law Librarian Blog | Legal Research Plus | Legal Writing Prof Blog | Library Boy. This is not a new claim, and I agree that this kind of approach represents the future of law reviews, but this call strikes me as premature. The best response is from Binary Law:

The end of print?

We’ve been here before and each time the answer is no. There’s too much in favour of print to bury it prematurely. …

The prediction will eventually be true, but not just yet. This future for law reviews is not going to happen any time soon, methinks.

The future of law reviews

HLS logo, via JLA site.HUP logo, via JLA site.It seems that sales of paper law reviews and journals are declining. For example, the Harvard Law Review had 8,760 subscribers for its 1979/1980 volume, but only 2,610 for its 2007/2008 volume. Now, via Volokh and Ambrogi, I learn of the appearance of the Journal of Legal Analysis, published by Harvard University Press.

It is a welcome departure in many directions. It is faculty edited, rather than student-edited; the latter is the norm in the US, but is regarded with some skepticism in the outside world. It is peer reviewed, with judgments being made on the quality of a piece not by the student editors but by experts in the relevant fields. It requires exclusive submission, which is the norm outside the US, but very different to the games in which authors and student-editors currently indulge to barter better placements. It is a general journal, publishing articles from all disciplinary perspectives and in all styles, rather than being confined to a specific legal field or theoretical approach. And, in an excellent development which will surely come to be seen as a some kind of apostasy, it has eschewed the Bluebook for a very minimalist house-style. Finally, it is open, free, digital: the articles will be published on a bespoke open-source platform and made fully available under a Creative Commons licence [specifically Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported] as soon as they are ready for publication. (more…)