Scholarly Communications @ Duke recently posted a summary of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship.
The Durham Statement calls for law schools to “commit to making the legal scholarship they publish available in stable, open, digital formats in place of print.” In addition, “As a measure of redundancy, we also urge faculty members to reserve their copyrights to ensure that they too can make their own scholarship available in stable, open, digital formats.”
Kevin Smith at Scholarly Communications @ Duke rightly points out that while the usual profit motive is missing from law school publications (since students do all the editorial work), the same reputation and impact motives are at work. Open access law school journals could provide a proof of concept for open access publishing in other areas of scholarship.
Although recent research seems to indicate that the citation boost that accompanies online access is paradoxically larger for fee-based access than open access, I think that trend could change as free open access becomes more common and normative. The Durham Statement seems to be a clear step in the right direction for open access.