Guide to Short Form Open Access Legal Publications

Introduction

Short form open access legal publications provide a forum for a wide range of scholarly and timely exchanges on new developments and issues. See generally Lawrence B. Solum, Download It While Its Hot: Open Access and Legal Scholarship, 10 Lewis & Clark Law Review 841 (2006). Of particular interest are the law review companions.

The companion publications fit into a growing niche of multi-format interactive online journals. They usually seek responses to articles appearing in their main law reviews and solicit original scholarship or viewpoints on current topics. Many of the publishers invite responses or discussion, via site blogs, on subjects raised in their short form articles. Overall, they offer a new conduit for debate and discussion of legal issues, and a new research and current awareness tool.

While blogs and Wikis are beginning to find their place, law review companions are building on an established path for disseminating and preserving legal scholarship. And they embrace the best of print and online traditions by adhering to the publishing standards of law reviews while taking advantage of the public square of the Internet. See generally Gordon Smith, Online Companions to Law Reviews and the Future of Legal Blogs, Conglomerate, April 24, 2007

This article is a collection of these emerging short form journals. Until they are fully integrated into the legal indexing system, a web monitoring tool or subscription will be the best way to keep track. Still, steps are being taken to integrate companion journals and similar online publications into popular databases and indexes. See, e.g., About the Harvard Law Review Forum (discussing plans to add the Forum to Westlaw and Lexis databases); LexisNexis Delivers Blog Content via Newstex Blogs On Demand, LexisNexis Press Release, April 5, 2006.

CONNtemplations (Connecticut Law Review)
"The site initially features pieces from a number of authors on topics related to the relevance and future of legal periodicals. These pieces flow from the Commentary featured in Issue 1 of Volume 39 of the Law Review, which is available on Connecticut Law Review's website."

Environmental Law Online (Lewis & Clark Law School's Environmental Law)
In this companion online journal "you will find selected articles and essays from our print journal, web-only articles, and an archive of our 9th Circuit case reviews."

First Impressions (Michigan Law Review)
"First Impressions, an online companion to the Review, features op-ed length articles by academics and practitioners in order to fill the gap between the blogosphere and the traditional law review article. This extension of our printed pages aims to provide a forum for quicker dissemination of the legal community's first impressions of recent changes in the law."

Harvard International Law Journal Online (Harvard International Law Journal)
"The ILJ Online is a new, web-based component of the Harvard International Law Journal, publishing brief, focused articles on a variety of international law topics."

Harvard Law Review Forum (Harvard Law Review)
"The Forum is an online extension of our printed pages that is intended to allow for a more robust scholarly discussion of our Articles."

iBlawg (Duke Law and Technology Review)
iBlawg is "an online interactive environment dedicated to publishing brief commentary and facilitating an online discussion about published articles."

Ideas (Hofstra University Law Review)
"'Ideas will serve as the vehicle for short pieces-from three to ten pages in length and having a minimal number of footnotes-on topics of interest to scholars and practitioners. There will be no subject-matter restrictions and no requirement that the pieces relate to one another. 'Ideas' will not be a symposium, but a collection of brief observations on important legal questions. The editors hope to attract submissions from the academy and from prominent members of the bench and bar as well." Introduction: A Good Idea, 33 Hofstra L. Rev. 1121 (2005).

In Brief (Virginia Law Review)
"In Brief features short essays and responses by law professors, judges, practicing lawyers, scholars from other disciplines, and current law students." In Brief Submissions

Journal of the Business Law Society (University of Illinois College of Law)
"This project is inspired by an innovative trend in legal publication, in which weblog technology is utilized to allow students, faculty, and professionals to interact online through legal writing and scholarship; providing a unique complement to traditional law reviews. The purpose of this Journal is to provide our readers with information on recent developments affecting business law. Articles are written by law students, but we invite professors, students, and practitioners to submit articles or user comments for publication on the website." About Us

Northwestern Colloquy (Northwestern University Law Review)
"The Northwestern Colloquy will be the first scholarly weblog to be operated by a major law review. It will feature legal commentary written in the form of blog posts. This new format will allow scholars to publish their thoughts within days of an emerging legal development. The subject matter can be anything within the field of legal inquiry, whether a short exposition of a new idea, an analysis of an emerging legal topic, an ongoing debate regarding a legal issue, or a short response to an already published piece of scholarship. Readers can rely upon the Law Review to ensure that citations in these pieces support the assertions made in the posts. We will also be allowing comments on these pieces in a moderated forum. We hope that this new feature will serve as both an attractive new way in which to publish ideas and as a meeting place for far-flung scholars to interact and refine their work." Announcing the Northwestern Colloquy, Northwestern University Law Review, Oct. 7, 2006

PENNumbra (University of Pennsylvania Law Review)
"PENNumbra seeks to engage a broader audience in legal scholarship by serving as a link between legal academia and the 'blogosphere.' The site features downloadable articles from the print edition of the Law Review, brief scholarly responses to those articles, and online debates on topics of current interest." Press Release, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Sept. 5, 2006

See Also (Texas Law Review)
"See Also is an online companion to the Texas Law Review that presents responses and critiques of recently published articles in the Review. For each issue of the Review, See Also features responses from members of the academic community and practitioners, styled as op-ed pieces, in order to promote further discussion of the topics addressed in the Review. In addition, See Also provides a forum for our readers to offer their own thoughts and perspectives."

Slip Opinions (Washington University Law Review)
"Slip Opinions is an online supplement to the Washington University Law Review featuring original commentary and debate by members of the legal academy, bench and bar."

TexSupp (Baylor Law Review)
"The staff of TexSupp strives to provide our readers with insightful legal literature including essays, book reviews, responses and letters to the editor."

Yale Journal Pocket Part (Yale Law Journal)
"As members of the legal community know, legal publications often contain "pocket part" supplements with up-to-date information. The Pocket Part plays an analogous role by augmenting the scholarship printed in The Yale Law Journal. It provides original essays and responses to articles printed in the Journal."

In addition, a commons has been created on a popular legal web log to showcase these new journals.

More law reviews across the country are planning to develop online companions, e.g., Illinois Law Forum (University of Illinois Law Review), so we can expect to see their numbers grow. See generally Legal Scholarship Goes Online, Virginia Law Weekly, Feb. 9, 2007. And legal publishers outside academia have already begun hosting their own versions of short-form scholarship and opinion pieces. See, e.g., Findlaw Writ.

Resources

These sites provide information about online, print and other permutations of law reviews and legal scholarship, and the availability of electronic access.

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

University Law Review Project