Digital Openings in German Legal Academia
Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional
Almost 20 years after the adoption of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003), open access publications still play a comparatively marginal role in the legal academia. Yet legal scholarship is already benefiting from a public discourse that quality-assured legal scholarship blogs have initiated with their science-communicative opening. Admittedly, particularly the lack of sustainable funding models reinforces the disciplinary reluctance to
... open access and open science in legal academia. Today, however, the vehemence of digitalization processes, boosted by the pandemic, drives legal academia in Germany into a fairly uncomfortable situation, not to speak of future existential challenges in a post-pandemic digital world. Traditional publication avenues and their gatekeepers feel the pressure of digital transformation on an everyday basis, nevertheless they are far from blown off from their cartel-like positions, at least until today. One cannot foresee the impact of the digital landslides in the publication culture in legal academia within the next couple of years, let alone decades. What is possible today, is to work around the questions: What or who is German legal academia and who are its gatekeepers? Unfolding the structure of German legal academia will enable us to gain insights into the remarkable resistance to open access (Hamann 2019) and the successful shifts towards open access, or even open science. Eight claims about German legal academia According to a recent survey, only 11% of online legal journals meet the open access definition criteria of the scientific organizations (cf. Berlin Declaration 2003; Hamann/Hürlimann, Rechtswissenschaften 2019, S. 111). New formats such as blogs (Verfassungsblog, Völkerrechtsblog, JuWiss, etc.) and online journals (e.g., German Law Journal, Recht und Zugang, Zeitschrift für internationale Strafrechtswissenschaft, HRRS-Online Zeitschrift für Höchstrichterliche Rechtsprechung und Ordnung der Wissenschaft) that publish open access are rare exceptions. Nevertheless, textbooks and case materials are published almost exclusively in traditional print format, although individual textbooks have been supplemented by enclosed CD-ROMs for some years now.