Oxford University Press has made its first foray into online information for lawyers and legal researchers.
The launch of three new services marks a significant phase in Oxford’s shift from a traditional academic print publisher, to one which now offers a broad range of services in book, journal, looseleaf and online form, and which is making noticeable inroads into the practitioner market.
The three new services, Oxford Reports on International Law, Investment Claims and the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, all have an international law focus. This area has long been one where the specialist information needed by those working in the field has been hard to come by, a problem which may now begin to be rectified.
It is also an area of exceptional current relevance, as described by Oxford’s Editorial Director for Law, Andy Redman:
“It seems that almost every week there is an instance where international law is being challenged, or called upon for the defence of rights on the global stage. At the same time the influence of international law at a domestic level continues to inform judicial thinking.
In keeping with our mission to provide for excellence in research, Oxford has worked closely with the international law academy and with the best practitioners to develop a suite of resources which we believe can transform the depth and quality of research and practice in international law.”
This is an ambitious project – it gathers together the broadest available coverage of new case law from international courts and tribunals, domestic courts and ad hoc tribunals. Some of this material is of course to be found elsewhere, but the OUP proposition is the convenience of the single source, alongside considerable value-added in terms of commentary and analysis.
This is a service with which you may be familiar; for some time now it has brought together the full text of arbitral awards, procedural orders and court decisions in the area of international investment disputes. OUP acquired the service early in 2008, and has added a whole range of additional content including expert headnotes and analysis for each decision, a full suite of BITs including summaries, in force data and citations for an increasing range of countries, and directories of arbitrators and counsel. The original full text case law service will remain free of charge.
This is the first online edition of a well-known reference work. The product of a 4-year collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, it is an ideal look-up resource for anyone wanting to understand a whole range of issues in PIL.
The Oxford Law Citator
Linking together all three services (as well as planned future launches) is the Oxford Law Citator, which is the functional hub of the online portfolio, allowing linking of references and citations and the description and management of the relationships between such references. A major undertaking for Oxford and growing every day, the Citator was designed and developed by Dominic Beesley from the Authority File Ltd, and population of the system with reliable records for each citation in each piece of online content is being achieved with the expert assistance of Tikit Editorial Services.
Throughout the process, OUP has sought and welcomed input from the community. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would welcome your involvement.
Alison Bowker is Head of Marketing, Medicine and Law at Oxford University Press.