Author : Sarah Reis
In the seven years following the promulgation of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, law journals have largely responded to the call to make articles available in open, electronic formats, but not to the call to stop print publication and publish only in electronic format.
Nearly all of the flagship law reviews at ABA-accredited institutions still insist on publishing in print, despite the massive decline in print subscribers and economic and environmental waste.
The availability of a law journal in print format remains a superficial indicator of prestige and quality to law professors, student editors, and law school administrations. A shift from print publication to electronic-only publication is not as simple as having a law journal merely cancel its print runs, but rather requires several fundamental changes to the publication process.
Many law journals must also greatly improve their websites before electronic-only publication can truly replace print publication. The Durham Statement was drafted by law library directors from top law schools across the country.
Law librarians today must assist in facilitating the transition if we ever expect to see a world of electronic-only publication of law journals.
This paper argues that the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review must be the first law reviews to transition to electronic-only publication, after which other law journals will follow suit.