Open Access Law Journals – “One Journal at a Time”

Judy Janes and Marissa Andrea just published a good article on open access law journals.  Their article, “One Journal at a Time,” includes a few paragraphs providing “a brief history of open access.”  In addition, they comment upon how “the success of RSS feeds, SSRN alerts and SMARTCILP/CLJC email updates has further accelerated the transition to Open Access journals.”

In their “Learn More” section of the article they link to a video presentation where Dick “Danner discusses Open Access and the Durham Statement and also his paper entitled “The Durham Statement on Open Access One Year Later: Preservation and Access to Legal Scholarship” available at SSRN.”

Other resources linked in the Janes and Andrea article include:

Directory of Open Access Journals

Science Commons Open Access Law Project


New York Law School list of law reviews with online content

This movement will benefit us all, as Janes and Andrea state it:

. . . As more journals become available on the Internet through an initiative called Open Access, published legal scholarship — once only available in print form from law libraries, or online through proprietary databases ­— will reach a wider audience. This is a movement not only benefiting practicing attorneys, but historians, scholars and members of the public with legal research interests, who will be able to access legal scholarship by simply googling a topic.

Article: The Use of Foreign Decision by Constitutional Courts – A Comparative Analysis

SSRN has posted an article on the use of foreign law by constitutional and supreme courts. The author looks at the use of foreign law in constitutional law cases by courts in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, South Africa,  and Switzerland. The article is only available in Spanish.

The Use of Foreign Decision by Constitutional Courts – A Comparative Analysis

Rodrigo Brito Melgarejo

In Dret, Volume 2 (2010)


Despite the relevance of comparative law in constitutional adjudication has repeatedly been at the center of heated debates, in recent years, an increasingly transnational constitutional dialogue between justices has developed in many countries. Some members of a large number of constitutional courts have embraced the possibility of considering the constitutional decisions of other nation’s courts because the potential benefits of comparative constitutional learning are many. Considering other national court decisions or explaining disagreements with them, for example, may stimulate judges to rethink principles or priorities in ways that alter their own constitutional perspective and to find new valuable arguments that renew its own stock of constitutional ideas.

This paper aims at analyzing the way some constitutional courts are using foreign decisions in constitutional interpretation and tries to demonstrate that comparative constitutional reasoning tends every day more vigorously to universality.

Legal Scholarship Network – “Tomorrow’s Research Today”

We are huge fans of the Legal Scholarship Network, part of the Social Science Research Network, and not just because seemingly all of the Stanford faculty are its journal editors.  Many posts to Legal Research Plus come from the Legal Scholarship Network journals.  In our advanced legal research class we tell our students that HeinOnline covers the past of law reviews and that the Legal Scholarship Network presents the future.   Here is some interesting information from the 2008 SSRN Mid-Year President’s Letter which we received just today:


SSRN has reached several milestones this year and it’s only June. First, the SSRN eLibrary ( grew to 190,000 documents (and is growing at the rate of 40,000 documents per year), the number of SSRN authors now exceeds 95,000, and we are close to 22 million downloads to date. In December, I predicted we would reach 20 million downloads by this fall and I am delighted to be proven wrong. Downloads of full text documents have been averaging over 600,000 per month this year and we expect 25 million total downloads by the end of the year.

. . .

As SSRN’s use has increased so has its reputation as a source of scholarship. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the U.S. Supreme Court cited a SSRN working paper in its recent Boumediene v. Bush opinion (actually the second time a SSRN working paper was cited this year by the Court) and several law blogs report these to be the first ever citations to working papers in Supreme Court opinions. We are pleased to see that the Court values SSRN’s “Tomorrow’s Research Today.” Thanks to the law bloggers for keeping me informed and to all of you for contributing to SSRN’s scholarship.

Noam Cohen, from The New York Times, wrote an article ( last week about SSRN, discussing the effect of SSRN’s rankings on scholarship that you may find interesting. I have received complimentary emails and a few good ideas about improving SSRN as a result of the article. Tim Kane posted his interview of SSRN Chairman Michael Jensen regarding SSRN’s history on the Growthology Blog (

. . .

Gregg Gordon
Social Science Research Network