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

Kiley, R. (2020, May 21). Open access: How COVID-19 will change the way research findings are shared. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

Lexis Advance Quicklaw webinar

Join Lexis Nexis trainer Cathy Hayhow this Thurdsay, June 4 at 11 AM for a Lexis Advance Quicklaw webinar for Osgoode students. Whether you’re working as a Research Assistant, starting your career as an articling student or just interested in brushing up your research skills, this webinar is for you. Please follow the link below to register:

Lexis Advance Quicklaw for Osgoode Research Assistants – Thurs June 4th 11:00 am

Wishing everyone a healthy and safe summer!

Virtual Legal Research Workshop

This year the Library is pleased to offer a legal research workshop via Zoom on Wednesday May 6, from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.

While the session is geared primarily to Research Assistants, all students are welcome to participate.

Topics to be covered:

• Using Omni
• Accessing eBooks
• Finding journal articles for legal and multidisciplinary topics
• Historical legal research
• Noting up legislation and cases
• Finding foreign, comparative and international law materials
• Using Zotero
• Creating profiles in ORCID and Scopus

Please RSVP by Friday, May 1 at You will receive a Zoom invitation prior to the workshop.

We hope that you can join us!

Accessing the McGill Guide online

As the end of term approaches and your final research papers and projects are due, it is important to ensure you have properly cited your work. While the Law Library can offer reference assistance and resources such as this citation guide, you will also need to rely on the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (McGill Guide). If you do not have your own copy, it is available online via WestlawNext Canada. To access it, follow these steps:

  • Go to WestlawNext Canada (you can find the database on the Law Library’s main page under Quick Links, or search for it through the catalogue)
  • Login using your credentials. If you have lost them, or are an Osgoode student and have not yet registered for Westlaw, contact
  • Once you’re logged in, you can find the McGill Guide toward the bottom of the main page, under Finding Tools
  • Search through the guide for details on how to properly cite different primary or secondary resources, and other materials

If you experience any issues in accessing the McGill Guide, or require additional support with legal citation, contact the reference desk at between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Enhanced learning support from Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters  offers complimentary online WebEx training for WestlawNext, Practical Law, Proview, and Taxnet Pro.

Students can book a free online training session with Jeremy Dunn, Senior Customer Learning Consultant, here. Jeremy is also available to answer any questions at

Online Help Resources, including downloadable user guides and tutorial videos are available at the Thomson Reuters Customer Learning Centre.

CANCELLED: Zotero for Legal Research Workshop update

In response to York University suspending face-to-face instruction as of Monday, March 16th, the Zotero for Legal Research Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th, has been cancelled.

For more information on using Zotero, please consult the Law Library’s Research Guide, or contact the Reference Librarians at

Thank you for your understanding.