Osgoode Digital Commons Readership Snapshot

October 2020

Last month, the Osgoode Digital Commons received 67,944 full-text downloads and 35 new submissions, bringing the total works in the repository to 18,032.

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University scholarship was read by 2,286 institutions across 187 countries.

The most popular papers were:

The most popular publications were:

Selected Bibliography on Open Access


Budapest Open Access Initiative. https://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read

One of the many foundational documents in the Open Access movement that defines open access in research and outlines the principles on which it is founded.

Berlin Declaration. https://openaccess.mpg.de/Berlin-Declaration

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities and is foundational to the open access movement. It promotes the Internet as a functional instrument for a global scientific knowledge base and human reflection and to specify measures which research policy makers, research institutions, funding agencies, libraries, archives and museums need to consider.

Calgary Statement on Free Access to Legal Information (2011). https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Calgary_Statement_2011-05-14.pdf

A statement from the Council of Canadian Academic Law Library Directors calling on all Canadian law schools, courts, legislatures, and governments to commit to electronic publication and urges faculty members to use Creative Commons licensing for their scholarship.

Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship (2009). https://cyber.harvard.edu/publications/durhamstatement

A statement from the directors of the law libraries at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Texas, and Yale University calling on all law schools to publish their journals electronically with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats.

IFLA Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age (2016). https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/clm/statements/ifla-statement-on-public-legal-information.pdf

A statement by the International Federation of Library Associations for governments to make public legal information more accessible by providing it on a digital, no-fee basis, to protect the integrity of this information using appropriate authentication measures, and to create policies that facilitate long-term preservation for permanent access.

Montreal Declaration on Free Access to Law (2007). http://www.falm.info/declaration/

A declaration by legal information institutes to promote and support free access to public legal information throughout the world. It defines public legal information as that produced by public bodies that have a duty to produce law and make public, including primary and secondary legal sources and legal documents produced as a result of public funding.

Suber, P. (2012). Open Access. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. https://openaccesseks.mitpress.mit.edu/

A concise introduction to the basics of open access, describing what it is (and isn’t) and showing that it is easy, fast, inexpensive, legal, and beneficial.


Osgoode Digital Commons. https://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/

Osgoode Hall Law School’s institutional repository collects scholarly output and records the life and activity of the Osgoode Hall Law School under one umbrella. The aim of the ODC is to preserve and provide open access to the research produced by Osgoode faculty members. It also hosts Osgoode’s journals including one of Canada’s premiere peer-reviewed law journals, the Osgoode Hall Law Journal.

York Space Institutional Repository. https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/

YorkSpace is York University’s Institutional Repository. It is a platform that enables York community members to organize and preserve their research online in an institutional context. It showcases the scholarship of the York University community through the use of a special standards-based software platform that collects usage statistics and provides exceptional visibility on the web.

York University Open Access Policy for Librarians and Archivists. https://www.library.yorku.ca/web/open/

York University’s open access policy seeks to coordinate campus-wide access and data management, to articulate a framework and coordinate service models that support faculty, and to create a wider forum for discussion and consideration on change to the system of scholarship, access to publicly funded research, authors rights in the digital age, and new scholarly distribution mechanisms.


Directory of Open Access Books. https://www.doabooks.org

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB… The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these publications are in Open Access and meet academic standards.

Directory of Open Access Journals. https://doaj.org/

DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ is independent. All funding is via donations, 18% of which comes from sponsors and 82% from supporters and publisher supporters. All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed in DOAJ. All data is freely available.

LawArxiv. http://lawarxiv.info/about

LawArxiv is a legal repository of pre-print scholarly papers owned and maintained by members of the scholarly legal community. It provides open access to legal scholarship and is supported the Center for Open Science and Cornell Law Library. It was developed by three law library consortia: Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA), Mid-American Law Library Consortium (MALLCO), and NELLCO Law Library Consortium, Inc., as well as by Cornell Law Library.

Open Science Directory. http://www.opensciencedirectory.net/

An open access directory of 13,000 scientific journals worldwide. Developed by EBSCO and Hasselt University Library, the OSD is a global search tool for open access science journals and enhances access to scientific literature by indexing direct links to journals and their articles.


Creative Commons. https://creativecommons.org/about

A non-profit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges by providing Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools

OpenDOAR. https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/opendoar/

What other open access repositories exist? OpenDOAR is the quality-assured, global Directory of Open Access Repositories. You can search and browse through thousands of registered repositories based on a range of features, such as location, software or type of material held.

ORCID. https://orcid.org

ORCID is part of the wider digital infrastructure needed for researchers to share information on a global scale. They enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and affiliations by providing an identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities.

ROARMap. http://roarmap.eprints.org/

The Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP) is a searchable international registry charting the growth of open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders that require or request their researchers to provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article output by depositing it in an open access repository.

SHERPA Fact. https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/fact/

SHERPA Fact is an online resource that combines and interprets data from Sherpa Romeo, Sherpa Juliet and other sources to provide clear guidance to researchers on whether a journal they wish to publish in complies with UKRI Research Councils, Wellcome Trust and Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) open access policies, and offers advice on available options.

SHERPA Juliet. https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/juliet/

SHERPA Juliet is a searchable database and single focal point of up-to-date information concerning funders’ policies and their requirements on open access, publication and data archiving.

SHERPA Ref. https://ref.sherpa.ac.uk/

Sherpa Ref helps authors and institutions decide whether a journal allows them to comply with the OA REF policy.

SHERPA Romeo. https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/

Sherpa Romeo is an online resource that aggregates and analyses publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis.

Think Check Submit. https://thinkchecksubmit.org/about-2/

Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications.


Free Access to Law Movement. http://www.falm.info/  

The Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) is an international voluntary association with members from more than 60 organizations from around the world. FALM members support the Montreal Declaration on Free Access to Law and are dedicated to providing free access to legal information. 

International Open Access Week. http://www.openaccessweek.org/page/about

OA Week is an invaluable chance to connect the global momentum toward open sharing with the advancement of policy changes on the local level. Universities, colleges, research institutes, funding agencies, libraries, and think tanks have used Open Access Week as a platform to host faculty votes on campus open-access policies, to issue reports on the societal and economic benefits of Open Access, to commit new funds in support of open-access publication, and more.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). https://sparcopen.org/

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) works to enable the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials in order to democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education


Kiley, R. (2020, May 21). Open access: How COVID-19 will change the way research findings are shared. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://wellcome.org/news/open-access-how-covid-19-will-change-way-research-findings-are-shared

Open Access lessons during Covid-19: No lockdown for research results! (2020, June 08). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.coalition-s.org/open-access-lessons-during-covid-19-no-lockdown-for-research-results/

Open COVID Pledge. https://opencovidpledge.org/

A recent initiative allowing individuals and organizations to pledge the removal of barriers to the use of their intellectual property through a license that details the terms and conditions under which intellectual property is made available in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Law Journals on Open Access

Graphic from http://www.openaccessweek.org/page/graphics 

The Osgoode Library continues to commemorate Open Access Week. Today’s blog post looks at the the growth of law journals that are available through open access. 

In 2019, Sharona Brookman, Osgoode Library Reference Librarian compiled a list of Canadian law journals in “Open Access to Canadian legal journals expanding”. Law journals available on open access continue to grow.This development is very helpful to researchers globally especially during an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new learning environments and new normal in academia, having journals easily accessible, not behind the paywall is very important. 

The following are links to a non-exhausting list of sources of open access legal journals and scholarship covering Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States: 

  • Australian Scholarship Library: This is a link from AustLII which provides access to academic and professional law journals originating from Australia and New Zealand. 
  • CanLII: One of the uniqueness of CanLII is that it has evolved from being just a website for accessing cases and legislation; in the last one year it has grown by adding more law school and professional journals.  
  • LawArXiv: A repository of legal journals supported by the Centre for Open Science. 
  • Law Reviews Commons: This is an archive of over 300 law reviews and journals of law schools in Canada and the United States hosted on the BePress platform. 
  • LSE Research Online: Repository of the London School of Economics and Political Science 
  • Web Journal of Current Legal Issues: This is one of the first UK journals that was made available on open access. It’s archived on the BAILII website. 

Note also that some of the subscription-based databases are making open access content available on their platforms. You will find an icon indicating that the material is open access.  

Open Access @ Osgoode

The Osgoode Hall Law School has been providing open access to most of Osgoode’s research and scholarship since Osgoode Digital Commons (ODC) was launched by our the Osgoode Hall Law School Library in February 2014. With 18,000 archived academic papers, commissioned reports, case commentaries, theses, book reviews, photographs, videos, podcasts, recordings of special lectures and glimpses into life at Osgoode, ODC has seen over 3 million full-texts downloads.

Writing about the milestone of reaching 1 million downloads in 2016, our former Chief Law Librarian, Louis Mirando, described ODC this way:

“Osgoode Digital Commons has been a cornerstone of Osgoode’s institutional digital initiatives and research intensification activities, as well as the Library’s commitment to scholarly communication, the preservation of the School’s research archive and the provision of open access to research. It has been instrumental in making Osgoode research available not only to the wider international scholarly community but to a world of people hungry for quality information about the law, all of it free and open access.”

And indeed, Osgoode scholarship has reached readers and researchers in more than 200 countries from all over the globe. The majority have been from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., India, China and Australia but readers have also been able to freely access Osgoode’s scholarship from Botswana, Nepal, Serbia, Costa Rica and Jamaica too name a few. This remarkable success is a tribute to the unwavering support of the Law School, Osgoode faculty and the quality of their scholarship.

global readership

The ODC hosts 5 law journals including the Osgoode Hall Law Journal and the Journal of Law and Social Policy. That means that in addition to Osgoode faculty scholarship you will also find scholarly writing by faculty from a variety of other law schools as well as up and coming student writers and graduate researchers. And, because ODC is part of the greater Digital Commons Network visitors will also find links to the over 600 law schools and institutions that participate as part of the “Commons.”

Digital Commons Network

It’s great to know that if you find a citation for a paper written by an Osgoode faculty member, chances are, when you enter that title into your favourite search engine, you will discover the paper freely accessible on Osgoode Digital Commons. Osgoode scholarship has been archived there, and it’s waiting for you, helping you to build on your own research.

Osgoode Digital Commons: Readership Snapshot

September 2020

Last month, the Osgoode Digital Commons received 48,794 full-text downloads and 5 new submissions, bringing the total works in the repository to 17,999.

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University scholarship was read by 1,990 institutions across 180 countries.

The most popular papers were:

The most popular publications were:

Open Access and COVID-19

Graphic from International Open Access Week

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented motivation for researchers and academics to share knowledge widely, not just among scientists but across all academic fields. An increasing number of organisations are moving towards an Open Access model for disseminating information in response to COVID-19, but more challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

The Rise of Pre-prints and Open Access Publishing

Open Access publishing platforms such as SSRN are able to post and share research faster than traditional publishing models. Researchers are also discovering the effectiveness of sharing pre-print and post-print papers ahead of peer review and/or publication. Please see our blog post “5 Things You Need to Know About Open Access” for more information on pre-prints and post-prints.

Beyond Paywalls

Some traditional publishing platforms have moved COVID-19 research out from behind paywalls. However, many other challenges require collaborative solutions across all disciplines and according to Wellcome Open Research, “ensuring that everyone can access research for free gives us the best chance of addressing them. We need to build on the great progress that has been made in response to COVID-19 and move towards a fully open access world.”

Graphic from UNESCO

From Temporary Access to Open Access

In response to the closing of post-secondary campuses worldwide and the move to online classrooms, platforms such as Project Muse and JSTOR made journals and books freely available. However, open access to these resources have proved to be temporary as some platforms began restricting access once more as of June 30, 2020. Open Access advocates have called on platforms to continue providing open access to resources and according to the organisation Coalition-S, “We don’t know which research papers that today remain largely inaccessible could inspire solutions and bright ideas for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Further Reading

Open Access lessons during Covid-19: No lockdown for research results! (2020, June 08). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.coalition-s.org/open-access-lessons-during-covid-19-no-lockdown-for-research-results/

Kiley, R. (2020, May 21). Open access: How COVID-19 will change the way research findings are shared. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://wellcome.org/news/open-access-how-covid-19-will-change-way-research-findings-are-shared