The use and perceptions of open Access resources by legal academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa

Author : Elizabeth Moll-Willard

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.

URL : The use and perceptions of open Access resources by legal academics at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa

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Diffusion du droit et Internet en Afrique de l’Ouest

L’accès au droit en Afrique de l’Ouest est difficile et restreint, et cela pour de nombreuses raisons. Parmi celles-ci peut être citée la faible diffusion papier des ressources juridiques nationales, qui est en partie due au manque de moyens matériels et financiers. Or, depuis une dizaine d’années, des projets de diffusion des ressources juridiques via Internet se développent, donnant ainsi un accès libre aux informations juridiques publiques. Ce mode de diffusion du droit représente une alternative pour les États africains, leur permettant de bâtir de nouvelles stratégies favorisant l’accès au droit.

Néanmoins, ce nouveau mode de diffusion du droit fait ressurgir une réflexion relative à la nature plurale des droits ouest africains et de la place des droits originellement africains dans ces nouvelles stratégies.La présente analyse montre que l’utilisation des nouvelles technologies, telles qu’Internet, dans des stratégies de diffusion du droit est pertinente, à la condition que les États africains redéfinissent leur culture juridique, en prenant en considération les sources originellement africaines afin qu’elles prennent place dans la diffusion du droit via Internet.

Access to legal information in West Africa is difficult and restricted because of a weak dissemination network. The insufficient publication and distribution of national legal resources can partly be attributed to a lack of financial and material resources. Over the past ten years, legal resource publication projects on the Web have been developed to offer free access to public legal information.

This type of document dissemination model represents an alternative solution for African States by allowing them to elaborate new strategies to increase legal information dissemination. This new law publishing model, however, has brought about the need to reconsider the pluralistic nature of West African laws and the place these originally African laws occupy within the new strategies being put forth.

The following analysis demonstrates how the use of new technologies such as the Internet has proven to be relevant for legal resource publication and distribution insofar as African states always take into consideration originally African sources when redefining their legal cultures through the dissemination of their laws via the Internet.”