“Harvard Law Faculty Commits to Open Access to Scholarship”

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Info/Law has the scoop. Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve been sitting on this post for what seems like an eternity, but the news embargo has been lifted, and we’re all free to share the fantastic news from Harvard Law School, where the faculty voted unanimously to provide open access to faculty scholarship in an online repository. This makes Harvard the nation’s first law school to make a public commitment to principles of open access (although such policies are well known in the scientific and engineering communities, where they have been driven by astronomical [and still rising] journal subscription fees).

Details of the motion come from the peerless John Palfrey, the new head of the Harvard Law Library who has served for several years as the Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. JP’s blog post has the full text of the motion, but the key provisions are:

“Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.”

This is great news for anyone with Internet access and a thirst for legal erudition. I hope many law schools follow suit.

–Ann Bartow

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