Harvard Law School goes open access

May 8th, 2008 by dwentworth

As a Berkman Center alum, I’m especially excited to share the news that the faculty of Harvard Law School has voted unanimously to implement an open access mandate (full text here).

The Berkman Center is the wellspring of Creative Commons, and here at Science Commons, we work to make legal scholarship open and accessible to all. The decision, which comes in the wake of the historic vote for open access by Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, makes Harvard Law School the first law school to enact an open access mandate.

Here, a brief round-up of commentary:

Peter Suber, open access leader: “This is not only another university OA mandate, and the first for a law school, but another unanimous faculty vote for an OA mandate. The unanimous faculty support makes a very good development positively beautiful.

John Palfrey, the Berkman Center’s executive director and newly appointed Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School, who proposed the mandate to the faculty: “The acceptance of open access ensures that our faculty’s world-class scholarship is accessible today and into the future.”

Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University Library: “That such a renowned law school should support Open Access so resoundingly is a victory for the democratization of knowledge. Far from turning its back to the outside world, the HLS is sharing its intellectual wealth.”

Tim Armstrong, a former Berkman fellow and current Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law: “As John Willinsky has explained, open access is a force multiplier for scholarship: it correlates with increased influence (as measured by citations) and broader scholarly impact as compared with work published only in closed or proprietary fora.”

Gene Koo, a Berkman fellow and Director of Online Training at Legal Aid University: “[Legal] scholarship has the potential to leap forward by large bounds with policies like Harvard’s in place.”

We agree with David Weinberger: Yay! Congratulations to everyone involved.

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