Georgia v. Public.Resources.Org

“Today, we are presented with the question of whether the annotations contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), authored by the Georgia General Assembly and made an inextricable part of the official codification of Georgia’s laws, may be copyrighted by the State of Georgia. Answering this question means confronting profound and difficult issues about the nature of law in our society and the rights of citizens to have unfettered access to the legal edicts that govern their lives. After a thorough review of the law, and an examination of the annotations, we conclude that no valid copyright interest can be asserted in any part of the OCGA….”

The use and perceptions of open Access resources by legal academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa | Moll-Willard | Journal of Open Access to Law

Abstract:  Although access to primary legal materials in South Africa is now easily accessible as a result of the Free Access to Law movement, access to legal scholarship is not as easy. Through using the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a case study, due to its research intensive nature, it is possible to see how academics are publishing their legal scholarship through the use of bibliometrics and data mining. After the success of a Research Visibility month, law librarians were able to attest to the perceptions of legal academics around the importance of the openness and visibility of their research. The author contrasts these two to see if the perception of legal academics around the visibility of their resources reflects their publishing practices. It is seen that although academics at UCT publish mostly in closed journals, the publishing in open and hybrid journals has slowly increased during the period 2011-2015. Further it is evidenced that legal academics are exploring other avenues, including that of self-archiving, to boost the visibility of their work. Law Librarians are able to assist in boosting at least the visibility, if not the openness of legal academics’ work.

New bill would finally tear down federal judiciary’s ridiculous paywall | Ars Technica

“Judicial records are public documents that are supposed to be freely available to the public. But for two decades, online access has been hobbled by a paywall on the judiciary’s website, called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), which charges as much as 10 cents per page. Now Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has introduced legislation that would require that the courts make PACER documents available for download free of charge….”

“Harvard Law School’s Nuremberg Trials Project” by Judith A. Haran

Abstract:  This article is primarily a case study of the Nuremberg Trials Project at the Harvard Law School Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It begins with an historical note about the war crimes trials and their documentary record, including the fate of the several tons of trial documents that were distributed in 1949. The second part of the article is a description of the Harvard Law School Nuremberg project, including its history, goals, logistical considerations, digitization process and challenges, and resulting impact. The structure and function of the project website is described, followed by a description of a typical user experience, the project’s current status, comparison to related projects, and plans for the future. Appendices provide information on the current distribution of Nuremberg trial documents within the United States, a bibliography on this topic, and a list of U.S. repositories holding related collections (primarily collections of personal papers of participants).

BITSS Preprints | Why We Need Open Policy Analysis

Abstract:  The evidence-based policy movement promotes the use of empirical evidence to inform policy decision-making. While this movement has gained traction over the last two decades, several concerns about the credibility of empirical research have been identified in scientific disciplines that use research methods and practices that are commonplace in policy analysis. As a solution, we argue that policy analysis should adopt the transparent, open, and reproducible research practices espoused in related disciplines. We first discuss the importance of evidence-based policy in an era of increasing disagreement about facts, analysis, and expertise. We then review recent credibility crises of empirical research (difficulties reproducing results), their causes (questionable research practices such as publication biases and p-hacking), and their relevance to the credibility of evidence-based policy (trust in policy analysis). The remainder of the paper makes the case for “open” policy analysis and how to achieve it. We include examples of recent policy analyses that have incorporated open research practices such as transparent reporting, open data, and code sharing. We conclude with recommendations on how key stakeholders in evidence-based policy can make open policy analysis the norm and thus safeguard trust in using empirical evidence to inform important policy decisions.

Declaration on Free Access to Law

“Legal information institutes of the world, meeting in Montreal, declare that:

  • Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity. Maximising access to this information promotes justice and the rule of law;
  • Public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge;
  • Organisations such as legal information institutes have the right to publish public legal information and the government bodies that create or control that information should provide access to it so that it can be published by other parties….

This declaration was made by legal information institutes meeting in Montreal in 2002, as amended at meetings in Sydney (2003), Paris (2004), Montreal (2007) and Ithaca (2012).”

Free Access to Law Movement (FALM)

“Welcome to the website of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), an international voluntary association which has as its members more than 50 organisations from around the world. FALM members provide and support free access to legal information, consistent with the principles of the Free Access to Law Movement and subscribe to the Declaration on Free Access to Law….”