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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

After the Gates Foundation Open Access Policy

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has demonstrated the power of philanthropy to reshape the world. Among the many instances, an earlier one touching my own area of work, which involves research on public access to research and scholarship, has been the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which “is the first open-access journal devoted to the world’s most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) …affecting the world’s forgotten people,” as the journal describes itself. The launch of the journal was funded by the Gates Foundation. The pointedness of its stance matters. The Foundation enabled a new and open journal that changes the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Legal Publisher and the McGill Guide

Early in my career, when I was a freshly hatched legal editor, I pored over the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide). It answered many of my questions about the finer points of legal citation: the meaning of square or round brackets; which words should be italicized; the correct order of parallel cites; and so on. I’m pretty sure I was using the first or second edition (we’re talking about 1988 and 1989). The Guide was tremendously helpful to me; although the rules were somewhat complex, they were clearly spelled out and easy to follow. On reflection, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Good Guys of Legal and Professional Publishing

I wonder if many others, like me, find almost all those uplifting messages posted and spread on social and business media sites, intensely nauseating? Mostly they instruct, or rather order us to have some kind of simplistic emotional feeling surrounding “do something awesome”, “life is like a (any noun will do)”, “17 things that mentally strong people do” or, maybe even more shallow, the command that we “keep calm” followed by something really tedious. However, I could probably live with “keep calm and stop getting childishly over-excited about next to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

New Duty of Good Faith

How many times have you signed long documents which are required to complete a transaction and you did not read the terms. Such as, opening a bank account or signing loan documents. Reading and understanding such long documents is difficult and not feasible in many consumer transactions. Or while using a computer, have you recently clicked on “accepted” or “agree” in an internet transaction, again without reading the several pages of terms.

When you sign documents without reading the terms, can the terms be relied upon by a seller or provider to overcome deception or dishonesty by the seller or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Replicability of Research’s Irrational Publishing Economy

After a year of sabbatical concentration and isolation spent working on a pre-history of intellectual property, it’s good to be back blogging on the here and now at Slaw. The book I finished (with a draft online) still needs work in its tracing of the intellectual properties of learning from Saint Jerome to John Locke. I’ll give it a blog or two later, point, but I’m keen to get back to what currently tickles and troubles learned publishing.

Certainly, the previous academic year has seen gains, if not tipping points, in favor of open access as the model and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Excessive Executive Compensation

A friend of mine is concerned that the existence today of excessive executive compensation is leading to the accumulation of disproportionate wealth and economic and political power in the hands of a few.

No one doubts that individuals try to better their condition.

Business leaders such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway are critical of excessive executive compensation.

Munger states that Berkshire Hathaway, a large holding company, owns many companies with boards of directors. Munger says that Berkshire Hathaway does not pay directors fees to non-executive board members of its subsidiaries. Munger said that if you start . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Four New Titles Enrich the Growing Osgoode Society List

Over 100 Titles To Be Published by 2015

A milestone is fast approaching for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.When the Society was founded in 1979, no one could have imagined that so extensive a collection of original research and writing on Canadian legal history would be the result. Bravo to Roy McMurtry and his merry band of authors and editors who have created a body of work that is the envy of the legal publishing world in just over fifty years, and to the university presses and commercial publishers that have supported this venture, including most notably . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Only Connect!

I am 100% certain that E.M. Forster wasn’t thinking about legal publishing when he wrote that powerful phrase; on the other hand, it seems apposite given where we are in the development of online legal publishing today.

A couple of months ago I wrote about some of my hopes and dreams for the future of legal publishing. Legal infographics, the semantic web, open data—these are exciting times for legal publishers (I’m afraid I don’t agree with Robert McKay on this point).

I loved Susannah Tredwell’s column about skeuomorphism and how the format of the print book informs so much . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

It was some time ago, while reading a few articles and columns offering opinions and insights into the legal and professional information publishing industry, that I perceived the extent to which the bonds between the employee and company appear, unfortunately, to have weakened.

Now just to put that into context, personally and subjectively, I believe that corporate loyalty can be much over-rated and more often than not is encouraged as a means by which to exploit workers. I’m much happier with the idea of a contractual relationship of obviously unequal parties in which each owes the other legal and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Public Comprehensive Collection of Supreme Court of Canada Decisions Is Now Within Reach

This July, the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ), funded the addition of 546 Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decisions to CanLII’s databases. With this addition every SCC decisions originating from Quebec are now available on CanLII (CAIJ’s press release). This effort constitutes one more step in assembling a collection of SCC decisions freely accessible to the public. These decisions are accessible through CanLII, but also through the Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada website published by Lexum.

The long story of assembling the public collection of SCC decisions

Even though not yet finished, the project to build . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

CPD and the Futures Report

The CBA Futures Report was released last week. The final topic in this wide-ranging report was legal education: law school, pre-call training, and CPD. The entire report is interesting, but the legal education section is especially interesting to me.

It’s impossible to argue with the most of the statements the report; many of the recommendations are music to my ears; for example, that lawyers should engage in life-long learning.

Legal education issues have received such a lot of attention recently, particularly issues of affordability, whether legal education makes new lawyers practice-ready, or whether all or part of an undergrad degree . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Legal and Professional Publishing: Has It Become Desperately Dull?

I’m pretty certain that most people, partly under delusion, at some time express the view that things aren’t as good as they were in the past. It’s usually wrong, of course. However, looking at the world of legal and professionally publishing, I wonder if I’m correct in thinking that it used to be enormously pleasurable, rewarding and creative but now appears, with some exceptions, to be desperately dull?

Its dullness is reflected in its lack of innovation, its shift away from new product development and its failure to excite and engage with its customers and with its . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing