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1 Laws 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/laws1 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Laws  2012,1, 1-3; doi:10.3390/lawsl010001

                                                                                   ISSN  2075-471X


Laws Editorial

Lawrence   0. Gostin

Editor-in-Chief ofLaws, Georgetown University Law  Center, Georgetown University, 600 New Jersey
Avenue  N.W., Washington,  DC 20001, USA;  E-Mail: gostin@law.georgetown.edu

Received: 20 May  2011  Accepted: 23 May 2011   Published: 31May  2011

   My  life's work has positioned me in two diverse worlds-one in science and one in law [1]. I publish
in both fields, and the traditions are very different. Law journals typically have narrow readerships,
principally those in the legal academy. The law review tradition, particularly in North America, is student
edited, non-peer reviewed, and  characteristically long and detailed. Law libraries often spend large
portions of their budgets on journal subscriptions, which they store in scarce space.
   This is beginning to change, albeit slowly. Legal researchers often place their articles on-line before
publication, for example, in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Even the most well established
law reviews  are expanding their web-presence, moving to shorter, more focused essays, and some law
journals-often in sub-specialties of law-have turned to the peer review process.
   In contrast, all high-quality scientific journals engage in rigorous peer review as the gold standard of
excellence. Science  articles are usually short and well  focused, following a  familiar formula of
background/context,  results, and discussion/analysis. A few  leading scientific journals have wide
circulations and readership-many reaching beyond a national audience to a broad international
distribution. Most scientific journals are subscription and paper based. This too is beginning to change as
relatively new scientific journals move to an on-line, open access approach, competing with older, more
traditional journals.
   What  both law and science journals have in common is that they are usually expensive and, therefore,
inaccessible to a large swath of the global population-particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
They  are also out of reach for many poorer researchers, academic institutions, and civil society even in
developed  countries. Another common feature of both scientific   and  legal journals is the lengthy
publication process and long lead-time between submission and  publication. Ideas that were fresh and
original when written can appear out-dated and less impactful when finally published.

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