Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ever edit a law journal contract?

Maybe it's just me, but every time I publish an article in a student-edited law journal (for our non-U.S. readers, student-edited law journals are the norm in the U.S.), I find myself editing the publication contract before it even comes close to something I can sign.  As a legal writing professor, I naturally want to put it in plain English.  I also change the content of the ridiculous indeminity clauses, which often would make me liable for things entirely outside my control or responsibility.  And then there's the matter of copyright, a topic I also teach occasionally.  Sometimes student editors actually seem surprised that I don't want to sign away my entire copyright forever, but I stand my ground.   

Now Ben Keele at Indiana-Bloomington has studied these copyright provisions.  His new article is:  "Examining Law Journal Publication Agreements for Copyright Transfers and Self-Archiving Rights".  And here's his description of his study: 

Images"This study examines 78 law journal publication agreements and finds that a minority of journals ask authors to transfer copyright. Most journals also permit author to self-archive articles with some conditions. The study recommends journals make their agreements publicly available and use licenses instead of copyright transfers."



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