Digital developments at OUP law

Online services

It’s now seven years since we launched our first online services in law and we provide resources for three main markets: scholars, practitioners, and police and law enforcement agencies. At the moment we are in the development phase for the third generation of our research environment which we’ll roll out this year. Our current services, Investment Claims, Oxford Reports on International Law, and the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law will all benefit from an improved interface and functionality. Users will benefit from information on citations and links being incorporated into the main screens to inform onward research and ease of access to key materials. As well as being better integrated into the main service environment we’re also upgrading the Oxford Law Citator which is now one of the most powerful tools available for international law research. We want Oxford services to enable onward research and so the Citator will provide links to the increasing international corpus of official public sources of case law, legislation, and treaties.

We will also launch several new services once the new platform has gone live. Oxford Competition Law will deliver leading texts such as Bellamy & Child, Faull & Nikpay, and Whish as well as providing case law and legislation for the practitioner and professional researchers. Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law will provide another key component of the core research materials for anyone working in public international law by offering a collection of key reference works such as Oppenheim, either as a standalone service or integrated with the Oxford Reports and Max Planck Encyclopedia as an integrated part of the Oxford Public International Law service. We will also be relaunching Oxford Constitutions of the World in the new environment which is being built on the back of two years of research and requirements gathering.

Our scholarly monographs service Oxford Scholarship Online now contains over 750 law titles and information about those titles, along with our scholarly law journals, is now freely discoverable in our Oxford Index service – a further example of how we are aiming to deliver on our mission of excellence in research in a digital world.

Ebooks and apps

With the expansion of tablet use in the law market, we see ebooks as an important channel for the future. Last year saw the launch of the first ebook from the law department, for Blackstone’s Criminal Practice. Designed to allow easy access in court or on the move, the ebook runs on a range of devices, including iPad, PC and Kindle, with most users installing it on more than one device. It is updated throughout the year to include all supplements; icons indicate where the main text has been updated, and provide instant access to updates in the supplement. The ebook also includes a range of features to enable swift navigation, including fully linked tables of authorities and index. The full update service is available bundled with the print; a main work only version (without updates) is available via Amazon and other leading partners.

In addition to the work on key titles such as BCP, OUP has been re-tooling over the last year to bring ebook delivery into standard publishing processes. We now have in place a set of systems and workflows designed to deliver a large number of ebook ISBNs to both retail and institutional partners. Law titles will start to roll out through this process this year.

Social media marketing

We believe that social media marketing works best when carefully planned, properly resourced, and integrated with both content and broader marketing campaigns. Our social media strategy works on two levels: a broad approach to OUP’s academic research market, and at specific market segment level. It is designed to be sustainable over time, and to deliver desired marketing objectives. As examples from both levels, OUP has one of the most visited publishing blogs, bringing together a wide and varied range of content and readers. At a law department level, in 2009 we established a highly successful presence for our key brand Blackstone’s Criminal Practice on Twitter. Followers of the twitter feed are currently at over 2,400 but numbers increase weekly, encouraged by our daily posts, and an opportunity to engage with a brand they are already familiar with; this has been a highly effective tool for establishing a two-way dialogue with our market.

Plans for this year include developing social media strategies for other key disciplines in which we publish. These will be connected to the content flowing through our books, journals, and online services, and will leverage our network of societies, authors, and reviewers to provide social media initiatives which are highly valued by users.

Alison Bowker is Head of Marketing, Oxford University Press. She is responsible for marketing strategy, tactics and implementation for medical and legal publishing at OUP.