Open Access and Disintermediation

Michael Geist’s Law Bytes column in today’s Toronto Star [freely available version] tells of Canadian national science advisor Dr. Arthur Carty who argued that scientific success increasingly depends upon fostering a “culture of sharing” based on open access models of communication that leverage the Internet to disseminate research quickly and freely to all. Michael echoed my mantra that while researchers rarely receive compensation for their contributions, publishers have enjoyed a financial windfall by charging thousands of dollars for journals filled with the free content generated with the financial support of the public purse through millions of dollars in research grants.
There are implications for the law here. No Canadian legal author (with the possible exception of Peter Hogg) gets serious royalties. We write to get the word out, not to profit. Web-based publication is a major threat to traditional legal publishing.

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