Archive for the ‘Academia’ tag
The editorial in the December 2012 issue of SCRIPTed: A Journal of Law & Technology is written by me, along with Dr. John Sheekey (a mathematician who also happens to be my brother). In our piece, ‘All that glitters is not gold, but is it diamond?‘ (2012) 9 SCRIPTed 274, we respond to the proposals for open access academic publication in the UK and elsewhere. While you might expect that we would welcome proposals to make the results of research more widely available, particularly when so many articles require payment or a subscription, we argue that the current proposal in the UK, and similar proposals elsewhere, have the potential to cause serious harm to scholarship, particularly in the disciplines in which we work.
The biggest threat is the proposal that publicly funded research (and possibly work submitted to future research assessments) be published in open access journals, funded through the device of ‘article processing charges’ (APCs) paid to journal publishers. This system, where an author would need to come up with thousands of pounds in order to secure publication of her or his work, does not encourage early career scholars, and it raises serious questions about the incentives to accept submissions (in terms of journal editors). Instead, we argue for the ‘diamond’ system to be given more attention. This means journals which neither charge a subscription nor an APC, but may be funded directly by a research council or an institution. Indeed, this model, rather than the APC model known in much better funded disciplines, is already becoming significant in both law and mathematics. We suggest that it could form a part of a strategy towards genuine open access.
When we were both at UEA Law School, Prof. Mathias Siems (blog | web | @siemslegal) and I started working on an article on legal research – seeing it as having affinities with practical, humanities and social science approaches. We presented it at UEA and Mathias also presented it at a number of other fora. It continued after both of us moved on – Mathias to Durham and me to Edinburgh – and it has now been published in the Cambridge Law Journal. Complete with charts and diagrams (including a ternary plot we are particularly attached to), and for those who like such things, our data is published in an online annex. We considered the question from a number of angles, including review of literature (on legal education, methodology and related issues), across different jurisdictions, data (which we collected) on the faculty structures of law schools in the UK, analysis of the role of research councils and associations, and a pilot survey on self-identification of research methods. When I’ve spoken about it (e.g. at breaks in conferences!), people seem interested, so I hope you enjoy the final result.
That result is the article, Mapping Legal Research (2012) 71 Cambridge Law Journal 651. A slightly earlier version is available on SSRN (without charge), with the annex included in the file: get it here. And finally, the abstract:
This article aims to map the position of academic legal research, using a distinction between “law as a practical discipline”, “law as humanities” and “law as social sciences” as a conceptual framework. Having explained this framework, we address both the “macro” and “micro” level of legal research in the UK. For this purpose, we have collected information on the position of all law schools within the structure of their respective universities. We also introduce “ternary plots” as a new way of explaining individual research preferences. Our general result is that all three categories play a role within the context of UK legal academia, though the relationship between the “macro” and the “micro” level is not always straight-forward. We also provide comparisons with the US and Germany and show that in all three countries law as an academic tradition has been constantly evolving, raising questions such as whether the UK could or should move further to a social science model already dominant in the US.
With permission, here is a recent email I received from the editors of the Hibernian Law Journal. You can contact the journal via email.
Established in 1999, the Hibernian Law Journal is a legal journal co-ordinated by trainee and qualified solicitors. Its multidisciplinary focus facilitates detailed argument and discussion on a wide range of topics such as e-commerce, environmental law, the European Convention on Human Rights, intellectual property, public private partnerships, criminal law, child law and financial services law. All legal topics of domestic, European and international law are considered provided that they are relevant in an Irish context.
The Editorial Committee is now accepting submissions for the 2013 edition. The Hibernian Law Journal offers an excellent opportunity for legal scholars to have their work published in an academic forum.
The following guidelines apply to submissions:
- Length should be between approximately 5,000 and 15,000 words.
- The article must not have been published elsewhere, although the article may be a thesis which is bound and catalogued in a university library.
- The topic should be thoroughly researched and footnoted.
- Articles may be on any legal topic of interest to the author.
- Articles are due by 31 October 2012 (although exceptions may be made in individual circumstances).
As part of the wholesome September activity of revisiting past teaching, I was reminded of a class I am not teaching this year, but may be of wider interest (or at least trivia). It’s a presentation on copyright law to an audience of (mostly) media studies students. This task came my way a couple of years ago and after a pleasant bit of reading and brainstorming the result was the all-about-copyright playlist, which after further changes looked like this. Enjoy the links!
- Young At Heart - The Bluebells (1984) : (joint) authorship
Hodgens v Beckenham  EWCA Civ 143
- He’s So Fine – The Chiffons (1963) ; My Sweet Lord – George Harrison (1970) (copying)
Bright Tunes v Harrisongs (1976) 420 F Supp 177 (SD New York DC)
- MPAA - You wouldn’t steal a car (2004): anti-piracy video
- The IT Crowd (dir. Graham Linehan), series 2 episode 3 : parody of MPAA video
- Pretty Woman – 2 Live Crew (fair use / parody)
Campbell v Acuff-Rose (1994) 510 US 569
- Encore - DJ Danger Mouse (mashup)
- Under Pressure – Queen / David Bowie; Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (sampling/licensing)
- Barbie Girl – Aqua (trick question – trademark, not copyright)
Mattel v MCA (2002) 296 F 3d 894 (9th Circuit CA)
- Empire State of Mind // Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) // Newport State of Mind Comic Relief Version (discussion of Hargreaves Review)
During 2011/12, I’ll be working (among other things) on a project on media content regulation in the UK, with a particular focus on complaints about broadcasting. It’s funded by the British Academy Small Grants scheme, and I’ll share further information once it is up and running. The project includes analysis of decisions (with the help of a research assistant), interviews, and historical/archive work. Here’s the abstract:
Despite the changes brought about in relation to technological convergence, the proliferation of television channels and the availability of content on the Internet, content regulation remains an important issue for much of the UK media. The point of entry for legal scholarship in this area tends to be the overarching statutory controls (e.g. the passing of the Communications Act 2003) or human rights law (the consequences of licensing or prior scrutiny, the impact of controversial decisions on freedom of expression). This study is an attempt to consider, with a particular view to the apparent changes in the media industries and in audience behaviour, the real impact of content regulation in situations where it is more routine (and less dramatic) than the occasional but well-scrutinised times when Parliament assesses principles or a court reviews a particular determination. At a time when diverse laws are under review, this work would contribute, through analysis of decisions in particular, to a debate of wider public interest, informed by scholarship in media/cultural studies.