Almost 5 years ago we started working on a cultural project: the building of a platform to expand access to legal knowledge across borders and cultures. We were aware of the difficulties scholars and practitioners encounter in accessing legal analysis and information on countries, especially when the reader is not proficient in the language the information is imparted. In addition, we were aware of the difficulties encountered by scientists in accessing databases and reviews due to the high and increasing costs of publication and consequent inability of libraries to acquire the broadest range of material.
In the spirit of helping to overcome these difficulties a publication series was established: Opinio Juris in Comparatione. Opinio Juris was distributed both via SSRN and directly on its dedicated page on the LIDER-Lab website and has witnessed an enormous success. The success of Opinio Juris as a generalist electronic platform accessible through the LIDER-Lab website and the SSRN e-library over the past three years has been really encouraging: download data from the LIDER-Lab website stand at 28,360 and we have 3,905 subscribers in total. In addition, from SSRN we can add a further 7,032 downloads and 1,930 subscribers.
These numbers confirm the demand for a journal based on our innovative concept – no limitation to specific themes and the dissemination of legal knowledge by encouraging our authors to write in a language different from that of the national system which the contribution deals with.
Furthermore, since 2010, Opinio Juris has been included in the list of Italian scientific reviews in the area of Private Comparative Law, created by the National Agency for the Evaluation of University and Research (ANVUR). This highlights the appreciation it quickly gained in the scientific community largely owing to its distinctive characteristics.
The success of Opinio Juris in Comparatione has focused our attention of the future. From the outset, we envisaged that our International peer-reviewed publication series should, in due time, evolve into a proper Law Journal. We now feel that the time is ripe to take the next step in our venture.
We are thankful to the SSRN and the LIDER-Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna for the visibility it has offered to Opinio Juris in Comparatione and hope to be able to cooperate in the future as well. Both these platforms, since the beginning of this cultural initiative in 2009, have assisted us in adhering to the main features of open access journals:
- completely free access to all published contributions (via the Lider-Lab website and the SSRN e-Library);
free submissions for authors who retain copyright;
- a quality control system structured in two stages: an initial examination by our Editorial Staff followed by an anonymous peer review process carried out by selected international reviewers.
The success of our venture has prompted us to strengthen these features and commit to developing a proper Open Access project with a view to supporting a more extensive global exchange of knowledge. Our revised aim is to be part of that new generation of peer-reviewed journal literature as conceived in the Budapest Open Access Initiative Declaration ten years ago.
As a matter of fact, the Open Access movement has triggered a profound and lasting change in the way knowledge is circulated and diffused.
In taking advantage of digital technology evolution and the Internet, the aim is to create a new framework where research results can be more easily accessible to a wider audience at a lower cost.
This goal can be achieved in two different but complementary ways: making scholarly, peer-reviewed articles freely available to anyone through open institutional repositories (self-archiving articles published in non-OA journals) and, at the same time, promoting new Open Journals in which academic work can be published and immediately available, free of charge, online.
In the last ten years the Open Access movement has gained worldwide support in the scholarly debate leading to a number of important initiatives that have outlined the main features allowing us to improve access to and the impact of scholarly publications. The vigor of the movement can be highlighted by simply mentioning just some of the most important initiatives: the Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002; the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, 2003; the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to knowledge in the Science and Humanities, 2003, endorsed in Italy by the Messina Declaration in 2004.
Furthermore the European Commission has made open access to scientific publications a general principle of Horizon 2020 “The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation” for 2014-2020.
Willing to follow what has been called the “Golden Road” to Open Access we have decided to launch this new website, entirely dedicated to the management of the journal and continue to carry out this innovative project, always in evolution.
As a new milestone of such evolution, since 2015 Opinio Juris in Comparatione has started a partnership in terms of publishing initiatives with the Société de Législation Comparée.
Opinio Juris in Comparatione has been included by the National Agency for the Evaluation of University and Research (ANVUR) in the list of the highest Italian ranking for Scientific Law Journals (Classe A) for the following areas: Private Law, Comparative Law, International and EU Law.