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Creative Commons and Science Commons Announce Open Access Law Program

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Creative Commons and Science Commons Announce Open Access Law Program

San Francisco & Boston, USA — June 6, 2005

Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that provides flexible
copyright licenses for authors and artists, and Science Commons, a
project of Creative Commons that works to encourage sharing of
scientific and academic knowledge, today unveiled their Open Access
Law Program. The Program is designed to make legal scholarship
“open access,” that is freely available online to everyone,
without undue copyright and licensing restrictions. The Open Access
Law Program is an initiative of the Science Commons Publishing
Project, which seeks to reduce the legal and logistical effort
involved in managing copyrighted scholarly publications.

As part of their Open Access Law Program, Creative Commons and
Science Commons are working with a large number of law journals to
encourage the open access archiving of the articles that they
publish. Science Commons has created a set of resources to promote
open access in legal publishing, including its Open Access Law
Journal Principles and an Open Access Law Model Publication
Agreement. The Principles and the Agreement encourage open access
to legal scholarship, by encouraging law journals to post their
published articles to the Internet, or allowing authors to do so.
They protect the basic interests of both journal and author by
ensuring that the journal is given a license to use the work, and
is always attributed as the place of first publication. Law
journals can adopt the Open Access Principles or can develop their
own policies consistent with the Principles. Journals can also
adopt the Science Commons Open Access Law Model Publication
Agreement as their standard agreement with all authors. Both
documents are available at the Science Commons’ Open Access Law

Staff at Science Commons’ offices in Boston worked with program
leads Professor Dan Hunter of the Wharton School, University of
Pennsylvania and Professor Mike Carroll of Villanova Law School,
who serves on the Board of Creative Commons, to produce the
Principles and the Agreement.

Professor Hunter said “Open access to law articles is an idea
whose time has come. All of the players in US scholarly legal
journal publishing have an interest in the widest possible audience
for their material. The authors benefit, the journals benefit, and
law schools benefit. And more importantly, the public benefits.
Everyone walks away a winner.”

Already 21 law reviews have adopted the Open Access Principles, or
have policies that are consistent with them. Leading journals such
as Animal Law, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Indiana Law
Journal, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Michigan
State Law Review, New York Law School Law Review, Texas Law Review,
Vanderbilt Law Review, and Wayne Law Review have signed on, as have
all of the journals published by Duke Law School and Villanova Law

Heidi Bond, the Executive Articles Editor of the Michigan Law
Review, one of the first journals to have policies consistent with
the Principles, said “Law reviews do not need to demand ownership
of their author’s manuscripts. We think our publication policies
should contribute to the free exchange of ideas among legal
academics. Open access policies make for happier authors and better
scholarship. After all, law review articles are like software:
they’re best when they’re free for others to learn from and build

Creative Commons became involved in supporting open access to law
scholarship through Professor Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law
professor and Chair of Creative Commons. In March this year he
signed away his copyright in an article to a law review and vowed
never to do it again. He has since thrown his weight behind efforts
to make legal scholarship open to all. Professor Lessig said “When
I drew my line in the sand, I knew of only one journal that was
open access. Today there are at least 21. I’m not sure that more
law review articles by me is a benefit to society, but at least
there are journals where I can publish and know that everyone can
read my work online, for free.”

Professor Lessig is the first signatory on the Open Access Law
Author Pledge, where law professors can agree to support open
access principles. This support includes encouraging journals to
become open access and promising to publish only in journals that
are open access.

Through its Open Access Law Program, Science Commons will work with
law schools, authors, libraries and journals to encourage open
access to legal journals and articles, and plans to expand the
Program into other areas of law publishing. Although the program’s
initial focus is on legal publishing in the United States, Science
Commons is also supporting international efforts to make legal
material freely available to all.

About Creative Commons

A nonprofit corporation founded in 2001, Creative Commons promotes
the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works—whether
owned or in the public domain—by empowering authors and audiences.
It is sustained by the generous support of the Center for the
Public Domain, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
the Omidyar Network Fund, and the Hewlett Foundation.

For general information, visit here

About Science Commons

Science Commons is a project of the nonprofit corporation Creative
Commons that works to ease unnecessary legal and logistical
barriers to the flow of scientific and academic knowledge. It was
launched in 2005 with the generous support of the HighQ Foundation
and Creative Commons. Science Commons is housed at and receives
generous support from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
where Science Commons shares space, staff, and inspiration with the
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

For general information, visit Science Commons


Press Kit


Posted 06 June 2005