Harvard Law professors team with the MIT Press to launch the American Journal of Law and Equality | The MIT Press

“Three Harvard Law School professors have teamed up with the MIT Press to launch a new journal focused on issues of inequality. The American Journal of Law and Equality will be led and edited by its founders, Randall L. Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law; Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor; and Cass R. Sunstein, the Robert Walmsley University Professor.

The new journal is expected to appear once per year and include a diversity of scholarship and views from experts and practitioners from in and outside the legal academy. The first issue, expected this summer, will include essays related to Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel’s recent book, The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?, which “challenges the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind.” …”

Library of Congress and Harvard University Form Historic Collaboration on Islamic Law Collections | Library of Congress

“The Library of Congress and Harvard Law School have initiated an unprecedented, multifaceted joint collaboration to identify, select and assess the copyright status of materials focusing on national legal gazettes.

The effort, initially set for three years, will coordinate access to, knowledge-sharing, and legal analysis of Library of Congress’ collections related to Islamic law, including national legal gazettes, manuscripts and other materials. It will also improve a reader or researcher’s ability to search those sources, using new data science tools and faceted searches tailored to Islamic collections. The joint objective is to expand scholarly analysis of and greater public access to relevant legal materials….”

Informationsplattform Open Access: Law


The field of legal science was comparatively late in recognising the relevance of open access for its own scientific practice. Admittedly, since the turn of the century, legal scholars have addressed the legal parameters of open access (Spindler, 2006) and have examined in dissertations the significance of copyright’s exclusionary power for the supply of scientific information (Krujatz, 2012). With RuZ, which was established in 2020, there is even a scholarly journal specifically dedicated to the legal issues surrounding access to cultural heritage. However, when it comes to their own publishing practices, many legal scholars react to the topic of open access with a questioning look or a shrug of the shoulders. Others even reject it outright, which can lead to years of legal disputes. There are a variety of reasons for this; at least eight theses against open access in law (which have since been called into question) are frequently advanced (Hamann & Hürlimann, 2019).

New home for judgments – A Lawyer Writes

“The government is to establish a free, comprehensive database of all judgments delivered in England and Wales.

In an announcement this morning, the government promised a website hosting thousands of court judgments, saving time and money for lawyers, judges, academics, journalists, students and members of the public who require them for case preparation or research purposes.

The new database will be run by the National Archives, which already publishes legislation dating back to 1267. It will open next April.

As the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, the National Archives was chosen because of its long-standing expertise in storing and publishing information securely.

Lawyers currently pay providers such as Westlaw UK and the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, which analyse and annotate judgments delivered by courts and tribunals….”

Boost for open justice as court judgments get new home – GOV.UK

“Important court and tribunal judgments will be available via The National Archives for the first time, increasing transparency and securing free access for all.


Court and tribunal judgments moved to a new website
The storage and publication of judgments to be managed by The National Archives
Judiciary welcomes the move to increase the transparency of the justice system…”

Open data, le désenchantement – Un blog pour l’information juridique

From Google’s English:  “The decree publishing the open data calendar for court decisions has just been published in the OJ  [ 1 ] . The French pro-open data movement can triumph, even if the calendar dates were predictable for a long time …

This step in the advance of open data  [ 2 ] in France inspires me with mixed feelings….”

Opening Access, Closing the Knowledge Gap? Analysing GC No. 25 on the Right to Science and Its Implications for the Global Science System in the Digital Age eBook (2021) / 0044-2348 | Nomos eLibrary

Abstract:  The Corona pandemic as never before shows the advantages of Open Science and Open Access (OA), understood as the unrestricted access to research data, software and publications over the internet. It might accelerate the long-predicted “access revolution” in the academic publishing system towards a system in which scientific publications are freely available for readers over the internet. This paradigm shift, for which the “flipping” of this journal is but one of many examples, is underway, with major research funding organisations at the national and international levels massively supporting it. The call for OA has now also been taken up by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which in its recent General Comment (GC) No. 25 explicitly asks states to promote OA. Following the line of argument of the OA movement, the Committee finds that OA is beneficial to democracy, scientific progress and furthermore a tool to bridge the “knowledge gap”. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the GC and its implications for the global science system in the digital age. It argues that the great merit of the GC lies in highlighting that “benefitting” from science includes access to science as such and not only to its material outcomes. This underscores the independent meaning of the right to science which so far was primarily seen as an enabler for other social rights. However, when it comes to OA, the GC has problematic flaws. It simply assumes that OA is beneficial to the right to science, overlooking that the OA model which is likely to become the global standard risks to benefit the already privileged, namely researchers and publishers of wealthy institutions in the Global North, further sidelining those at the margins. Rather than narrowing existing gaps, it risks to further deepen them. In order to remain meaningful in the face of the fundamental criticism it faces, human rights law needs to address systemic issues and inequalities in the science system and beyond.


The Public Should Have Access to the Surveillance Court’s Opinions

“For decades, a special court—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or “FISC”—has issued secret legal opinions authorizing the U.S. government to conduct sweeping programs of electronic surveillance. These opinions have had a profound impact on Americans’ rights to privacy, free expression, and free association. But many of them are entirely hidden from public view….”

It’s The End Of Citation As We Know It & I Feel Fine | Techdirt

” ScholarSift is kind of like Turnitin in reverse. It compares the text of a law review article to a huge database of law review articles and tells you which ones are similar. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that machine learning is really good at identifying relevant scholarship. And ScholarSift seems to do a better job at identifying relevant scholarship than pricey legacy platforms like Westlaw and Lexis.

One of the many cool things about ScholarSift is its potential to make legal scholarship more equitable. In legal scholarship, as everywhere, fame begets fame. All too often, fame means the usual suspects get all the attention, and it’s a struggle for marginalized scholars to get the attention they deserve. Unlike other kinds of machine learning programs, which seem almost designed to reinforce unfortunate prejudices, ScholarSift seems to do the opposite, highlighting authors who might otherwise be overlooked. That’s important and valuable. I think Anderson and Wenzel are on to something, and I agree that ScholarSift could improve citation practices in legal scholarship….

Anderson and Wenzel argue that ScholarSift can tell authors which articles to cite. I wonder if it couldn’t also make citations pointless. After all, readers can use ScholarSift, just as well as authors….”

#Zero Embargo Campaign – Are You With Us? | LIBER Europe

While the COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the virtues of Open Access and propelled changes in scholarly communication that previously many feared, the current models of communicating scientific content still maintain unequal access to content.

On the other side of this highly regulated and controlled system, advocates of Open Access are exploring lawful ways to enable researchers to freely disseminate their research and maximize its impact.

The Rights Retention Strategy of PlanS (cOAlitionS) is a much-welcomed initiative that empowers authors to be in control of their own research and the granting schemes of HorizonEurope is another bold move by the European Commission in the same direction. It is now time that policies like these are implemented in all EU Member States and that the countries themselves have the same coordinated and horizontal approach.

Therefore, LIBER proposes a new model law that aims to ensure a zero embargo period for lawful self-archiving on open, public, non-for-profit repositories.

California nonprofit pushes states to make jury instructions more broadly available

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc. ruling, however, gave him new hope. In a 5-4 decision issued last April, the court sided with the California nonprofit Public.Resource.Org, which had been sued for copyright infringement by the State of Georgia for having purchased and posted the state’s official statutory code.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in the majority opinion that “officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of—and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties.”

In May, Lanning contacted Carl Malamud, Public.Resource.Org’s founder and president, seeking assistance with his jury instructions efforts.

In the months since, Malamud has succeeded in prompting Wisconsin to make its jury instructions available for free. His nonprofit has also teamed with a University of California at Berkeley legal clinic in hopes of convincing California officials to remove copyright claims on the state’s jury instructions….”

Big Data for Justice. An open-access dataset of 80 million legal case records

“The 7000 odd courts that make up India’s lower judiciary processed more than 80 million cases between 2010–2018. That huge backlog and scarce resources plague Indian courts is well-known. But which districts bear the greatest burden? Where has delay in due process been the most crippling? Are the benches diverse — do they mirror the underlying population of a state? Have crimes against women been on the rise — are specific districts particularly notorious? These just scratch the surface of pressing questions on law and order in India, that can now be answered in a matter of minutes using the largest open-access dataset on judicial proceedings in the world….”

Suggested changes to the Open Courts Act

“We write on behalf of a group that has extensive experience building large public sites on the Internet. The purpose of this letter is to advance action on improving public access to federal court records, which are presently offered by the government through an outdated PACER system. We have extensive experience putting large government databases on the Internet and then working with public officials to help government do this work better. Our experience includes making available federal databases such as the U.S. Patent and Trademark database, the Securities and Exchange EDGAR database, the IRS Form 990 database, 14,000 hours of Congressional video from hearings posted at the request of the Speaker of the House, and over 6,000 government videos from the U.S. National Archives posted in cooperation with the Archivist of the United States. We have extensive experience working with legal information, and operate some of the largest sites for access to federal court filings, as well as the U.S. Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the regulations of all 50 states, and much more….”