Here at the Northwestern University Law Review, we have read with interest the recent discussion concerning the importance of open access publication of legal scholarship. We wanted to take this opportunity to express our committment to maintaining broad and costless access to the information we publish.
Starting with the fourth issue of our ninety-ninth volume and moving forward, all of our content has been, and will continue to be, available as a PDF download through our past issues tab. As a result, anyone will be able to find Northwestern University Law Review content using an internet search engine, and download it for free. Furthermore, we will maintain a fully permissive policy regarding authors who wish to post drafts of their forthcoming articles to SSRN, Bepress or other locations on the web. That's the easy part.
The hard part is that we are currently sitting on a mountain of information which is not readily convertible to PDF format -- nearly 100 years of scholarship published solely in print in the Law Review. We are committed to making this information freely available as well. However, the technical and financial challenges that accompany scanning the mountain of material that was published before PDFs existed make this a project that will be ongoing, and contingent on donated funding. (For those interested in speeding this process with a donation to the Law Review Fund, please click here for more information.)
Our current plan is to scan and post archival content at a steady rate, working backwards from the most recent issues towards the oldest. It may take some time before all of our content is open-access, but it is and will remain a key goal for the Law Review. In the meantime, we hope soon to be able to publish abstracts of our archival content on our site, which will be freely available to all.
We would welcome suggestions as to how we might best accomplish these goals. As always, thanks for visiting the Colloquy.