Campus & Community

HLS’s Olin Center and Harvard University Press offer first open access journal

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In partnership with the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School, Harvard University Press (HUP) launched the Journal of Legal Analysis, its first foray into online, open access publishing, on Feb. 3.

“Harvard University Press’ 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,” said HUP Director Bill Sisler.

The Journal of Legal Analysis (JLA) aspires to publish the best legal scholarship from all disciplinary perspectives and in all styles. The JLA is faculty edited, and all articles are subject to peer review. Articles are free on the Web and will be gathered into bound volumes once a year and made available for purchase.

Robert Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the Harvard University Library, elaborated: “Possibilities opened up by the Internet are transforming the whole landscape of publishing. … 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.”

HUP ceased publishing academic journals about three decades ago because journal publishing no longer fit in with the overall strategy at that time. But the development of an online journal publishing program has long been a goal of HUP Editor in Chief Michael Fisher. He was thrilled when, in the summer of 2007, Director of the Olin Center Steven Shavell, along with Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies Mark Ramseyer, approached senior acquisitions editor in the social sciences at HUP with the idea of starting a journal. “With the emergence of online journal publishing and open access, the cost of entry into journal publishing is lower than it’s ever been,” Fisher said. “With an online 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. With the JLA, we are trying to create … 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, congratulated the Press on finally achieving its goal: “Harvard University Press’ re-entry 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.”