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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

The King Is Dead (R.I.P. Content). Long Live the King (Hail Access).

The big news this past summer on my scholarly publishing beat is Elsevier’s acquisition of bepress, which was announced August 2nd, 2017. Bepress began life as Berkeley Electronic Press in 1999, when three economists at Berkeley saw the writing on the screen, at a time when most scholarly journals were being printed and mailed out, and created an online publishing platform. Jump ahead to 2011 and bepress sold off its portfolio of 67 journals to de Gruyter. Now Elsevier, the largest publisher of scholarly journals, has acquired the company itself, which provides a centralized repository service called Digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Fall of the Geeks and the Rise of the Nerds

When first it occurred to me to write on the topic in question, its title was to be “From Production to the Rise of the Nerds”. However, when I explained to a friend who for many years has been on the periphery of law publishing, the underlying thesis that power in law publishing has shifted over the years from what used to be editors to what used to be production people (the nerds), she responded with her belief that editors tended also to be nerds (or geeks; I don’t recall). She was, of course, correct, so the title was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Economies of Southeast Asia and Effects in Canada

China’s life expectancy in 1949 was 36 and in 2012 it was 75. Literacy was 20% in 1949 and it was 90% in 2012. See page 151 of Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos.
China and several other Asian nations experienced an “economic takeoff” in the latter part of the 20th Century that has changed the world.
China with a population of 1.4 billion is the largest economy in southeast Asia.
Here in New Brunswick at Fredericton High School there are 400 foreign students (about 25% of all students) mostly from China. A friend in Toronto told me that there . . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Information Paywalls and Information Rights: The Link Between News Story and Research Article

Lauren Maggio, Laura Moorhead, Juan Alperin, and I recently blogged a small study on the relationship between health journalism and biomedical research in the digital age of growing open access to research. We scraped those news stories in 2016 that had “cancer” in their headlines and included a link to a research article. The good news is that 67,236 news stories on cancer had such links to 11,523 different journal articles. Since the access to research articles in the days of printed newspapers, as much as I miss that era (having recently cut the paper tie), was essentially zero, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Profound Thoughts From a Visionary

It was suggested to me, not unfairly, that I should be more forward-looking when writing on the topic of legal and professional information publishing. The point, though hardly seriously, was put in terms of whether I might personally consider exploring the role of “visionary” for the law publishing business sector, which was coded language for, to date, my being more negative than positive; those who see themselves as insiders are supposed to be upbeat and enthusiastic. In my defence, previous columns have included such dynamic titles as: An Exciting Time for Legal and Professional Publishing; Publish and (Perhaps) Be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Commemorating Intellectual Property Before It Was Law

Everyone likes an anniversary. It offers a moment of reflection and perhaps a piece of cake. It calls for looking back, if only, in this case, to that afternoon in high school history class in which you were presented with the Protestant Reformation. This is the five hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther, “Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg,” letting the world know that he intended to defend what has become known as The 95 Theses (actually entitled Disputation on the Power of Indulgences): “52. It is vain to trust in salvation by indulgence . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

“Avalon Sunset” Moments

It is hardly surprising, having penned articles with such titles as Legal and Professional Publishing: Has It Become Desperately Dull?, The End of Legal Publishing? and The Law Publishing Business is Finished, that I am sometimes not filled with optimism with regard to these matters. In fact, I am reminded of a difficulty frequently encountered and described by those who write and dealt with entertainingly by Van Morrison on his album, Avalon Sunset. How to deal with not having anything about which to write is to use that fact as a topic in itself, hence the song . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Gratitude in Retirement

Next month I will be 88. Which has caused me to reflect on my good fortune. That includes my mother and father and their families, my wife, and my children and grandchildren. Adam Smith (1723-1790) said “What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in good health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience”. Perhaps family.

My age causes me to reflect on the medical advances made during my lifetime. I understand that life expectancy has doubled since 1867. When my father was born in 1900, life expectancy was circa 50.

I am . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Professional Development Galore!

Happily, I work for a continuing education organization that really walks the talk when it comes to professional development for staff; everyone is encouraged and expected to take advantage of these opportunities.

Sadly, though, we don’t have unlimited time or budgets, and not a week goes by without a flurry on Twitter, Storify, or other social media sites from the latest legal education, information, or technology conference. I am tempted more often than I can participate. It’s great that we can follow on social media, though; between the tweets and subsequent blog posts I can usually get a good idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Requiem for a Weekly Newspaper

Fittingly, I first read it in a tweet, which linked out to a brief article online. “Your favourite legal news, delivered daily” was the headline — burying the lede with a corporate cheerfulness that seemed reluctant to actually acknowledge what was happening. Journalists are taught to tell the story in the first paragraph; here, though, you have to scroll down to the last paragraph to learn what was going on:

The Lawyers Weekly will continue to publish each week until March 31, 2017. After that date, the weekly publication will be replaced by daily access to the most relevant legal

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing, Practice of Law

What’s Not on CANLII – Playing the Devil’s Advocate

CANLII at 15

CANLII recently passed its fifteenth birthday, with announcements and pronouncements about its many notable achievements. Missing however, from the self-congratulatory posts, rationalizations for incomplete case law databases, and the unfulfilled promise of expanding its meagre coverage of secondary, was any realistic critique of what had been achieved and what remains to be done if it is to become a useful tool for legal research. A “devil’s advocate” seems to be required.

Legal Research

Legal research is more than checking recent cases. Legal research is more than checking current legislation.

The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide (formerly . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Law Publishing Business Is Finished

Delusion only lasts for so long but at a certain point all the indicators cannot be ignored; law publishing, as a business in its own right has run its course; it’s pretty much over, if not necessarily, according to the caselaw, in the toilet.

Previously I suggested a likely scenario envisaged in the not too-distant future. If accurate, I predicted that by that time professional publishing will have become no longer a business in its own right. Rather it may evolve into an increasingly not-for-profit skillset within larger media entities that simply wish to maintain overall relationships . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing