January 18, 2018
Launched in the summer of 2017, the Allard School of Law online Research Commons, an institutional repository created to allow for free and open access to research being produced at the law school, recently surpassed 10,000 downloads.
“I am pleased, but not that surprised, that we got there so quickly,” remarked Dr. Natasha Affolder, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Research and International, who was responsible for launching the Research Commons project.
“Our faculty members are incredibly active in generating thoughtful, socially aware and innovative legal research. This scholarship influences the way that law is taught, debated, reformed and even the ways in which things are understood as ‘law’ that might previously have been neglected by scholars and policymakers,” she continued.
A lot of the work in setting up the Research Commons was sourcing and uploading the significant amount of research by current and past Allard School of Law faculty members. While there is still more already published research to be uploaded, one of the priorities in launching was to pull together a diverse and representative cross-section of scholarship. The project is a collaboration between the law school and the Law Library with Aleksandar Petrovic and Elim Wong ambitiously undertaking the project of gathering and uploading scholarship.
“There are terrific new articles being uploaded every week,” Affolder said.
“What we have become aware of through watching the readership statistics on who is using the Commons, is that there is truly an international demand for the scholarship that is being generated at the Allard School of Law,” Affolder explained.
It’s a fact which is immediately striking in one of the most visible features of the Research Commons site—a map that shows all the locations in the world that users are currently accessing papers published by Allard School of Law faculty. As this article was being written, there were users accessing the Research Commons in real time as far away as Tel Aviv, Israel and Tokyo, Japan.
“Just like the joys of allowing yourself to linger in a bookstore and to leave with a rich collection of books that you didn’t enter the store intending to buy, the Research Commons allows for such intellectual wandering across diverse literatures. The only difference is that this is a bookstore with no price tags,” Affolder said.
But be careful—according to Affolder, “spending time on the Research Commons can be addictive!”
You can visit the Research Commons at https://commons.allard.ubc.ca/