Author archive

Scott Vine

Scott Vine is Senior Information Officer (TMT Group) at Clifford Chance. He manages the information provision for the group of specialist lawyers, including providing current awareness, tailored research and Intranet and Knowhow content management. He also manages and edits two of the firm's three Client Alerter products: Alerter: Communication & Media, and Alerter: Energy.

Open access logoOpen access (OA), in its simplest form, means unrestricted online access to research outputs. These outputs cover all forms of research including journal articles, conference papers, book chapters, monographs and more. In its wider sense any kind of digital content can be open access, from texts and data to software, audio, video and multi-media.

But what do we mean by unrestricted access?

Open v free

There is a common misconception that free access is open access. Much of the content of the internet is free to access – newspaper websites, YouTube videos, the BBC etc. However, whilst your access to this content is free, the publisher retains all the intellectual property rights to the content and controls what you can or can’t do with it. You can’t just copy or reuse content as you please. Clearly this kind of free access, while reserving all rights, is a perfectly acceptable publishing model, but it is not open access.

All the major law publishers are now issuing ebook editions of popular texts. Scott Vine provides guidance and asks some questions of his own.

It has taken a while, but with the release of the latest version of the Kindle, Kindle 3, Amazon has let UK residents get their hands on the ebook reader and a dedicated UK Kindle store for the first time, and at just £109 for the wifi only version, it suddenly looks like a tempting option for those curious about e-reading.

The iLegal iPhone application, created by Timothy Leigh, a law student currently studying the Legal Practice Course, aims to provide you with the law in your pocket – or at least access to the UK’s revised primary legislation as taken from the UK Statutory Law Database (SLD).

Whilst you can visit the sites of law firms and sign up to updates of their publications, this means you are limited to those firms you know, and it could also mean you miss something that would otherwise have been of interest. Thankfully, a number of companies now do the hard job of aggregating the content for you, allowing you to search by firm, legal topic/sector, jurisdiction and keyword.