Harvard University Presses launches open access peer-reviewed law journal

Harvard University Presses launches open access peer-reviewed law journal

In conjunction with the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Press has launched its first open access journal, Journal of Legal Analysis, a peer-reviewed, faculty-edited interdisciplinary law journal. Below is a copy of its press release.

For Release February 3, 2009

Contact: Mary Kate Maco, Publicity Director
617/495-4713
mary_kate_maco@harvard.edu

Harvard University Press Announces First Open Access Journal

In partnership with the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Press will launch the Journal of Legal Analysis (http://jla.hup.harvard.edu), its first foray into online, Open Access publishing, at noon on Tuesday, February 3, 2009. “Harvard University Press’s mission has always been the dissemination of first-rate scholarship to the widest possible audience; we are thrilled that technology has enabled us to further that mission in ways never imagined when the Press was founded in 1913,” says Press director Bill Sisler. Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, elaborates: “Possibilities opened up by the internet are transforming the whole landscape of publishing, especially in the realm of academic journals. By taking this step, Harvard University Press has signaled its determination to participate in the transformation and to do so in a way that will promote the diffusion of first-rate scholarship.”

The Journal of Legal Analysis (JLA) aspires to publish the best legal scholarship from all disciplinary perspectives and in all styles, whether verbal, formal, or empirical. The JLA is faculty edited. All articles are subject to peer review. JLA articles are free on the web and will be posted on the JLA website as soon as they are ready for publication. Published articles will be gathered into bound volumes once a year and made available for purchase.

Harvard University Press published academic journals in the past but ceased doing so about three decades ago because journal publishing no longer fit in with the overall strategy at that time. The development of an online journal publishing program has long been a goal of HUP Editor-in-Chief, Michael Fisher, who explored a variety of possible co-publishing ventures with other departments at the University.

When, in the summer of 2007, Steven Shavell, Director of the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business, and Mark Ramseyer, Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies, approached Senior Acquisitions Editor in the Social Sciences at HUP, Mike Aronson, with the idea of starting a journal, Aronson and Fisher were thrilled. “With the emergence of online journal publishing and Open Access, the cost of entry into journal publishing is lower than it’s ever been,” says Fisher. “With an online OA journal a publisher does not have to spend start-up money recruiting subscribers, does not need a subscription-fulfillment operation, does not even have to print the journal. The fact that we can work with the Law School to jointly further the University’s scholarly mission while spending less in the current economic climate is very, very exciting for us.”

For Ramseyer, the JLA represents a landmark in law journal publishing, one that fills a gap left by the student-edited law reviews. “Until JLA, there has not been a faculty-edited, peer-reviewed journal that covered the whole span of the legal academy. There have been faculty-edited journals for subfields, but not for the entire discipline. With the JLA, we are trying to create a faculty-edited journal that will be the flagship journal for the law school faculty as a whole.”

Stuart Shieber, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and current Faculty Director of the Office for Scholarly Communication, was happy to congratulate the Press on finally achieving its goal: “Harvard University Press’s reentry into journal publishing through the Journal of Legal Analysis represents an exciting development in the burgeoning world of Open Access journal publishing. HUP’s efforts are to be applauded for both their quality and their accessibility.”

According to Dan Lee, Director of Digital Content Development at HUP, “the JLA is the first of many Digital Publishing initiatives to come from HUP. A successful implementation of this publishing model should translate into similar ventures with other departments and institutions — whether new journals, online monographs, or hybrid projects incorporating the best of new scholarship with cutting edge web applications. It’s important that HUP bring its editorial, production, and marketing expertise to bear by working together with the University to help set new precedents in the creation and dissemination of scholarly publications in the digital world.”

For more information, please visit the JLA at http://jla.hup.harvard.edu.

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