Launched in June 2005, the Open Access Law Program is a part of the Science Commons Scholar’s Copyright Project, which is working to support open access to scholarly research in a wide range of disciplines in science and social science, including law. The Scholar’s Copyright Project aims to increase access to knowledge by reducing the technological, economic, and legal barriers that have traditionally restricted access to scholarship. The Open Access Law Program, of which Open Access Law Canada is a part, specifically promotes open access to legal scholarship.

Open access provides free public access to scholarly literature and promotes the dissemination of this scholarship, which benefits the author, the law review, and the public. Some of the benefits of open access for scholarly publication are to permit quick dissemination of scholarship, to increase access to research for educational purposes, to increase awareness of research among the public, to allow authors to receive comments and feedback in a timely manner, and to facilitate international and interdisciplinary scholarly conversations. Open access for legal scholarship enhances the profile of the law review, with increased citation and visibility, and raises awareness of the institution hosting the law review.

The Open Access Law Program provides a number of resources to encourage open access archiving. These resources include the Open Access Principles for Law Reviews and information about open access publishing agreements. The websites for Open Access Law Canada (in English), and Libre accès au droit Canada (en Français), provide further information about this program in Canada and a set of open access resources for Canada.

The Open Access Principles are a small number of principles that commit the law review to taking the least restrictive licence consistent with its needs, a promise to provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article to the author, and a commitment to allow public access to the law review’s standard publishing contract. The Principles do not ask the law review to undertake the archiving of articles or change the publication format of the law review; they simply ask the review to allow the archiving of articles by authors at university repositories, scholarly portals, and the authors personal webpages.

The Canadian Model Publication Agreement enshrines these commitments in a neutral contract that is easy for both authors and law reviews to accept. The Program also encourages authors to deposit electronic copies of their work in open access repositories. Get in touch with us using our contact form.

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