Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

OA archiving for law student scholarship

Carol A. Parker, Institutional Repositories Offer New Avenues for Publishing Student Scholarship, Law Librarian Blog, February 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

Modern law students must write scholarly articles to fulfill upper level writing requirements or write theses and dissertations to receive graduate law degrees.  Except for the few students who succeed in publishing a law review note, however, most law students will have limited opportunities to publish their work.  An exciting development emerging from the application of open access principles to legal scholarship is the use of institutional repositories to publish student scholarship....

The studentsí scholarship would attain visibility on a scale never before seen, and the students would enjoy the benefit of informing the subsequent work of others....Moreover, providing open access to student works in institutional repositories does not preclude their later publication.  In any case, because many of these student works are rarely published elsewhere, there is no existing publication structure to be threatened by open access publishing of them.... 

Law schools would also be sending the message that they take student scholarship seriously. Knowing that their work will also be subject to scrutiny beyond the four walls of their professorsí offices would give law students added incentive to produce better scholarship.  Law schools are in a position to go so far as to mandate submission of theses, dissertations, and other student papers into institutional repositories as a condition of graduation. Doing so would make a statement in support of open access that is consistent with the culture and values of legal educators and with our tradition of public access to legal information.  Alternatively, law schools may choose to limit publication to top papers, works that have been endorsed by a faculty member, or works that otherwise have earned the imprimatur of the law school before placing them in an institutional repository.

Open access repositories of theses and dissertations in other disciplines have been in use for more than a decade.  Open access proponent, Peter Suber, has written extensively on open access to scholarship, including the use of institutional repositories for publishing student scholarship (for more information see [Open access to electronic theses and dissertations].  Currently, the Registry of Open Access Repositories lists more than a dozen collections of student work; including the NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository which is used by Vermont and Cornell law schools to publish LLM theses....

[Derived from a work that is forthcoming in 37:2 New Mexico Law Review (Summer 2007)]