A history of the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues.
Web Journal of Current Legal Issues
© 2013 Bruce Grant
First published in the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues.
Citation: Grant B, 'A history of the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues', (2013) 19(4) Web JCLI
There is much interest in open access publishing. This has been caused, in part, by demands that research which was publicly funded should be made available to those who funded it, and partly by a feeling that the market for research information has become unnecessary expensive and fragmented. In law, we have seen the success of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) and its ability to make a very large corpus of judgments and other materials available without charge, with very minimal expenditure – indeed law schools provide very little funding to support BAILII. Apart from BAILII there has been little open access legal publishing in the UK. The Web Journal of Current Legal Issues has been one of the few locations where the open access model has been utilised, and has been so for almost two decades. The history of the Web JCLI is therefore of interest to outline what has enabled its longevity, what barriers low cost legal publishing faces, and where such a journal might go now that commercial publishers are being encouraged (by a changing financial model) to utilise open access channels, too.
In December 1993 Bruce Grant, a lecturer at Newcastle Law School, downloaded the web browser, Cello, from Cornell Law School. As luck would have it, a mechanical digger had just sliced through the fibre optic cable linking the Law School to the Newcastle campus network, so the download was achieved with a telephone modem at a rate of 14.4kbits and took the best part of three hours. Cello had been advertised as good for legal materials and the immediate objective was to access the repository of international trade law materials then being established at the University of Tromsø in Norway.(1)
Cello was written by Thomas R Bruce, the co-founder of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University. Cornell had set up the first website for legal materials but since most lawyers utilised Microsoft Windows as their operating system, a Windows browser was required. It operated as shareware, giving easy access to the Cornell Legal Information Institute web site. This was the very early days of the World Wide Web (WWW), as the technology moved from file transfer protocol (ftp) and gopher to the now ubiquitous hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) which underlies the WWW. Having experienced Cello in action, Grant became an enthusiast for the possibilities which this new interactive protocol allowed. It was simple, speedy, and required almost no technical ability from end users. To be able to write something viewable by thousands without significant cost was an intriguing prospect.
A few months later the conversation in the Newcastle Staff Common Room was of the forthcoming Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 1996. Some lecturers had been disappointed by having had articles accepted for publication in recognised journals, but with projected publication dates too late to count in the RAE. Grant suggested the publication of articles on the World Wide Web. Michael Allen, then a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Law School, took up the idea, and soon we were talking about founding a new peer reviewed on-line journal. Allen became the founding Editor and Grant the Technical Director responsible for all aspects of on-line publication.(2)
Recognising the need for publicity to bring our Journal to the attention of legal academics who might write for us and who, in turn might cite articles we had published to their students, Allen suggested we seek the support of Alistair MacQueen, the Managing Director of Blackstone Press. In the summer of 1994 we travelled to London to see him. Blackstone published several of Allen's books. To avoid any difficulty trying to explain the operation of the World Wide Web to someone who had never seen it, and who did not possess a networked computer, Grant recorded a VHS video tape of Cello in action. MacQueen's eyes lit up, "Show me that again". We had gained a convert. It was at MacQueen's suggestion that we called the Journal the Web Journal of Current Legal Issues or Web JCLI. He identified our unique selling point as the ability to publish in a timely manner on matters of current importance to academics. Blackstone Press printed our first leaflet mailed out to all UK Law Schools and distributed at law conferences. There was also a £500 grant to cover start up costs. In a surprising move Blackstone Press also offered to issue a retrospective Year Book re-publishing on paper the pieces already published on-line.(3) There must have been some doubt as to the willingness of purchasers to buy something they could already read free on-line. However MacQueen remained an enthusiast for the Year Books.
In Newcastle, Grant set up an account on the University's Unix servers. It was, and remains, usual for materials for web publishing to be hosted on Unix or Linux web servers.(4) Users are enabled to use any machine and operating system they wish to connect to these servers. Every online web resource requires a domain name. In 1995 the rules on choice of domain were stricter than they are now.(5) We were advised that if the Journal was hosted on Newcastle University servers the url had to be a sub-domain of the Newcastle University domain. So we chose the url <http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk>. Electronic and print Journals also require a unique International Standard Serial Number (ISSN). We were issued with the ISSN 1360-1326. Grant has investigated registering the Journal with the international DOI system,(6) but lacking the funds for registration that proved impossible.
Newcastle University Computing Service waived any charge for server space, so we were relieved of finding the means of funding the Journal. That was important to us. If we had needed to raise funds there were three options we could envisage: (a) the reader pays either by personal or institutional subscription or pay per view, (b) the author pays (or, more accurately, the author's research grant or institution) or (c) the Journal is funded by sponsorship. These were not mutually exclusive. The subscription model did not appear fruitful. We hoped a significant part of our readership would be students, not the most fertile source for subscriptions. There was uncertainty if University Libraries would subscribe to a new journal outside the main-stream. Persuading them in a time of steadily escalating journal costs would have required a commitment of time. Another disincentive of the subscription model, applying to all ejournals, was that subscription income would be subject to vat, imposing an additional administrative burden.(7) An author pays model would have been groundbreaking in the mid 1990s. The sponsorship route had more potential but we lacked experience in raising sponsorship. If funds were to be raised it would have involved us invoicing and book keeping, which would have diverted us from the core activity of publishing. We felt the time devoted to the project could reasonably be seen as a proper academic endeavour. Our costs were subsumed in University budgets, mainly the University of Newcastle which paid our salaries and provided server space, but also other universities whose staff members provided editorial services and peer review.(8)
We announced our intention to launch the Journal in the autumn of 1994 with a call for papers. Allen recruited an Editorial Board and an Editorial Committee, drawn from several British Universities. The Journal was never an in-house publication of either Newcastle Law School or Newcastle University. It was an independent Journal from its conception.
At the behest of the University Library, publication of the first issue was held back while an application was made for an Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) grant from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). The Newcastle bid was unsuccessful. The Universities of Warwick and Strathclyde jointly made the successful bid to create a family of eJournals. (9) Their bid was on an altogether larger scale than Web JCLI. In truth, Newcastle's bid must have looked half-hearted, because its promoters had already decided on a zero cost model, and it was difficult thereafter to come up with a budget justifying expenditure sufficient for a grant.
The editorial team and the members of the editorial board were invited by MacQueen to annual meetings generally at the offices of Blackstone Press. The editorial team was drawn from between six and seven British University Law Schools and the annual meetings (with lunch) were an excellent means of fostering collective decision making. Once we had got to know one another it was easier to conduct business by email. These meetings continued until 2001 when Blackstone Press was absorbed into Oxford University Press. OUP declined to continue to host editorial meetings, which thereupon ceased.
In 2002, the co-founder, Professor Michael Allen took up a post as one of the Commissioners on the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the Journal had to find a new editor. Professor Rob Bradgate of the School of Law at the University of Sheffield took on the role. He was succeeded in 2005 by Professor Anthony Bradney, then of Sheffield, but subsequently of Keele University who passed on the editorship to the present incumbent, Professor Philip Leith of Queen's University, Belfast at the end of 2012.
The Journal was set up with Sections, each with an editor. There were six sections: Articles, Case Notes, Comments, Legal Education, Information Technology and Book Reviews. Articles were submitted on a wide range of subjects and every issue published has contained at least one. The currency of the Journal and the short lead-in time should have encouraged the submission of case notes but that expectation has not been met. Until recently the Legal Education section has been the responsibility of Professor Fiona Cownie. Under her guidance the Journal has built a strong reputation in this area, giving over whole issues to Legal Education from time to time. In 1995 Information Technology was seen as a self-contained topic, but it soon developed interstitially in many pieces principally devoted to another topic. The Journal publishes book reviews but there have been fewer than we might have hoped for.
Having a journal available is one thing, but attracting readers to it can be more difficult. In the mid 1990s search engines were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are now. For example, in 1995, Lycos and AltaVista had just become available but Google had yet to launch. To push readers towards an online resource, it was necessary to utilise email. The Journal asked those who wished to receive notice of new issues to sign up for email alerts. We announced new issues by email with a mail exploder.(10) Originally we used MailBase, developed at Newcastle University, but later JISCMail, a listserv service provided for the JISC by the Council for the Central Laboratories of the Research Councils (CCLRC) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.(11) Membership of the list fluctuates around 700. There is always a reduction in list membership around the September issue, but the explanation may be students graduating from their Universities in the summer, and having their email accounts withdrawn. Numbers pick up again in the autumn, again presumably as new students are introduced to on-line learning. Because list membership is open to all without restriction the list is subject to spamming. Postings to the list are moderated so that spam is deleted before it can be distributed to list members.
The first issue appeared in March 1995. We decided to publish five issues a year, on the last Fridays of February, April, June, September and November. Currency was our aim, although that didn't mean we would only publish newsworthy pieces. MacQueen's view was that if there was a dispute between academic Roman lawyers over the interpretation of an Article of the Institutes of Justinian it would qualify as 'current'.
Authors were asked to submit their pieces to the appropriate editor by email. They were sent for peer review, and when returned and any amendments agreed they were sent to Grant for conversion to html(12) and transferred to the website in time for publication. The policy was to avoid printing anything on paper unless absolutely necessary. The schedule was such that if Grant had the word-processed files by Wednesday afternoon, he would meet the publication date on Friday.(13) The publication schedule had to be fitted in with University meetings, marking and teaching. Inevitably that meant a couple of very late nights to get the Journal out on time. On occasion the Journal was published from Italy where Grant was on holiday and once from a hotel room in Vienna.
The schedule meant there were occasions when guest lectures given at the University on a Wednesday evening could be published within two days. There were no galley proofs, although occasionally if there was some minor infelicity pointed out to us within a day or two of publication we would correct it. One such published lecture delivered by the then Right Hon. Sir Richard Scott, then Vice-Chancellor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales was on the proper distinction between public interest immunity claims in civil and criminal justice.(14) Sir Richard had just published the Scott Report into the Matrix Churchill affair,(15) and the publication of his views on the proper purpose of public interest immunity certificates aroused the interest of the national Press.
We asked authors to submit their pieces for publication in a word processed format, but soon learned we could not be prescriptive about which word processing software authors should use. In 1995 many authors used WordPerfect for word processing, some used MS Word, and we had submissions in several other formats, including LocoScript (the Amstrad PCW word processor), Microsoft Write and WordStar. Grant acquired conversion software for all these formats. Many submissions were provided on floppy discs sent through the post. These had to be virus checked and the relevant files copied onto the Newcastle file servers. Macintosh formatted floppy discs were quite common. There were no Macintosh machines in the Law School, so the files had to be extracted from networked Macintoshes situated in common user areas elsewhere in the University.
Portable Document Format (PDF) was available from Adobe Corporation in 1995, but it was subject to development and not the stable platform it has since become.(16) There were free on-line conversion tools available for single files but the Journal would have required licensed PDF writing software, which for our relatively modest requirements was not cost effective. The main disadvantages of PDF were that the text was presented with fixed line lengths and PDF files were larger than the corresponding html and took longer to open. In 1995, when home computers were served with narrow band modems, that was an important consideration.
Readers would need additional software (Acrobat Reader or similar) to read PDF files. This was free but had to be downloaded and installed on the reader's machine. Html files ensured the widest possible accessibility across a range of devices. Because they are text files there is a strong likelihood they will be machine readable into the distant future. Grant had experienced teaching law to a blind student and was aware that text files like html were readable by the assistive software for the blind then in use. There were some advantages in PDF, principally a potential for pagination even though for other reasons we did not use page numbers. So the decision was to concentrate on processing files in html as the principal medium, although we also provided an additional rich text format (RTF) file(17) and later a PDF file.
In 1994 there was no specialist html writing software for PCs and Grant produced the html files with a simple text editor. At first he used Curlew, a text editor developed at Newcastle University, but later Pico, the unix text editor.(18) Footnotes were manually coded, taking time and great concentration. The unix text browser, Lynx, was used to identify bad html coding because it would conveniently stop working at the very point where it encountered badly formed html code.(19) Mozillla Netscape and Microsoft's Internet Explorer were more tolerant and for that reason less useful for testing. When they became available he was able to use html editing software, AOLPress,(20) and later Dreamweaver.(21) Conversion tools, rtftohtml,(22) R2Net(23) and DocToHtml(24) were also used, but as MS Word became the dominant word processor, it became feasible to save a Word file as html although that method resulted in excess html coding which had to be stripped out with Dreamweaver.
The construction of html documents depends on an internal sequence of headings, and sub-headings from which a table of contents may be created. It is unusual for an author to actually use the heading values we specify,(25) so they are added at the copy editing stage.
The approach taken here was common in early web publishing – the document was produced as a self-standing entity, with display tags incorporated within that document. As a matter of policy, Grant used a minimum of display tags, leaving most elements to be controlled by the defaults in the reader's web browser. Later, a different approach came to be used in web publishing. Instead of specifying display tags in the html document itself, the formatting instructions for the presentation of the document (e.g. layout and font sizes and colours) are handled by a separate 'Cascading Style Sheet' (CSS). With this approach, the document itself requires very few tags and appearance is uniform across the site.
When the project was mooted, a commonly-held objection was the difficulty of reading text from a computer monitor screen. In the 1990s these were cathode ray tubes (CRT) which at typical refresh rates tended to flicker. We envisaged readers finding the article of interest on-line and printing it on sheets of A4 paper to be read at leisure but naturally without working hypertext links. Early web browsers did not handle printing very well so we decided to provide a file specifically for downloading and printing. From 1995 to the end of 2007 the 'download' file was the RTF version of the html. For much of the early period html files were constructed from RTF files with conversion tools(26) so the RTF files were a by-product of the process of creating the html files. We also provided a compressed (zip) file of the RTF file, but examination of the server logs revealed they were rarely used so from 2008 to 2012 the RTF and zip files were substituted by a portable document format (PDF) file.
In addition to a Table of Contents for each issue, the Journal was made searchable. Until 2001 indexing and searching was done with Isearch, an open source text retrieval system developed at the Clearinghouse for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval (CNIDR) in North Carolina. Isearch worked by creating an index of the searched for text strings with links to where they were found. The index had to be re-built whenever a new issue appeared. Isearch supported Boolean full text searching, and was highly configurable. It was possible, for example, to restrict searching to the title field alone and only search files with the extension '.html' excluding from the search results any file with the extension '.htm'. By giving files such as the Table of Contents the '.htm' extension and the substantive articles the '.html' extension it was possible to ensure that search results contained substantive articles only.
In 2001 Newcastle University installed a Google search appliance so that indexing was done centrally. The new system was very powerful but bespoke search configurations ceased to be available. Recently added material was not searchable until Google indexed the site, which happened every few days.
The Journal's chosen citation system was intended to emphasise its currency. Instead of a volume number, we used the year so that readers could tell at a glance when an article had been published. Many authors thought we had got that wrong too so that  2 Web JCLI often appeared as (1995) Vol 2 Web JCLI or some other variant.
We ruled out using page numbers. Html separates content from presentation. With html it is the reader who decides the width of the window (page) and hence the length of a line, and even the size of the font. In the absence of a fixed line length there cannot be a system of uniform page numbering as a means of pin point referencing. We decided against placing arbitrary page numbers in the text. A complicating factor was that Blackstone Press planned to issue a retrospective Year Book, re-publishing on paper the pieces already published on-line. The printed Year Book would have page numbers leading to ambiguity if the on-line journal had different page numbers for the same material.
A system of chapter and verse, with a reference number for each article and numbered paragraphs was considered. Today paragraph numbering is ubiquitous. Our view in 1995 was that paragraph numbering looked odd and deflected the eye from the text. We made the collective decision not to use paragraph numbering. This too was influenced by the prospect of the Yearbook where paragraph numbering on the printed page would have been unusual. The decision might well have been different if taken the following year when the courts began issuing judgments with numbered paragraphs. Given the ease with which text could be copied from our Journal and pasted into a piece of word-processed writing, we envisaged authors simply quoting the Journal's text in their own pieces, with an acknowledgment to the author and the url where it was published.
With the benefit of hindsight the lack of any means of pin point referencing was a mistake. Authors have puzzled how to provide pinpoint references to articles in the Journal. Indexing services sometimes provided the 'page numbers' we, the editors, had so thoughtlessly neglected. Lack of page numbers is also a problem for authors filing bibliographic references for purposes such as the count for the purposes of the former Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) or the current Research Excellence Framework (REF).(27)
Allen drafted a guide to citation standards, which also dealt with headings and sub-headings, the indentation of quotations and the construction of tables. It demanded that cases were cited by their 'best report' if available, meaning the Law Reports. The introduction of neutral citation from 2001 meant we asked for that too, when appropriate. Some authors provided the necessary double barrelled citation, but many others will have found that the editors have added the missing component.
In February 2012 the Journal formally adopted the Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA).(28) OSCOLA places the editors in a dilemma. If a submission meets generally accepted citation standards, but does not comply precisely with OSCOLA, should it be sent back or simply altered to make it comply? In practice we have tended to alter the submission to achieve reasonably close compliance with OSCOLA. The reason is because at the outset of the copy editing process of a submission (as opposed to the anonymous peer review done by a different person) it is not possible to know the full extent of what needs altering.
Web JCLI's objects were (a) to provide authors the opportunity to make timely comment upon legal matters of current importance and (b) to provide readers with a free source of timely and useful legal writing. Much later such objects came to be described as 'Open Access' (OA)(29) but in 1995 that was not a term in common use. From the beginning the Journal was intended to be free to readers. In modern jargon the Journal is an example of gold gratis OA.(30) Government policy in the UK initially favoured green OA encouraging scientific articles to be published in institutional or subject repositories.(31) In 2012, the Finch report recommended a change in policy direction to favour gold OA, where research is published in journals, in general paid for through author processing charges (APCs).(32)
Gold OA suggests a move from solely subscription funding towards at least part-funding from APCs. In future, research funding may include the cost of APCs but the APC model does not cope with authors, including those from overseas, who are not in receipt of a research grant, or are not associated with an institution prepared to pay APCs on their behalf. In September 2013, the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee issued a report on Open Access which criticised the methodology of the Finch Report and reverted to support for green OA. The publication of green OA material in institutional repositories is often embargoed for a period of time to preserve the journal publisher's subscription income. A recent Google search reveals that many articles first published in the Journal have subsequently been copied into their authors' institutional repositories.
In 1995 our view of the difference between an on-line journal and a journal produced on paper was the publishers of the former need not have preconceptions about how many articles, case notes, pieces on legal education or book reviews would appear in any given issue. We gave guidance on how many words pieces should contain but we were prepared to publish longer (or shorter) pieces. The only test was whether a piece passed through peer review. If so, we would publish it. We were not constrained by any notion about how many of our readers might find a piece interesting. They weren't paying, so whether or not they liked what we published was not a relevant consideration. There was no need to satisfy readers' conception of money's worth.
Equally, we were not mesmerised by readership figures. As was common with websites in the 1990s we added a counter to provide a running total of the number of hits per issue. To have published the number of hits per article would have been invidious and irrelevant. The hit counter measured hits, not page views, and did not identify unique visitors. (33) It eventually failed when the site was moved to a differently configured server and we did not replace it.(34)
It goes without saying authors should enjoy moral rights. The Journal's decision to leave copyright in authors was intended to demonstrate our altruism. The idea was to allow articles to be downloaded and even shared (e.g. by class members) but not to be altered or used for commercial gain without the author's permission. That was intended as a statement that we, the publishers, did not intend to benefit commercially from this publishing venture. Legal writing covers a range of disciplines and methodologies. Some pieces may be the result of empirical research. Others may consist solely of arguments and ideas. The level of appropriate copyright protection may vary according to content. Empirical data might be made publicly available, whereas in the case of independent scholarship a more restrictive regime may be appropriate. Since the Journal started, a range of potential copyright permissions has become available through Creative Commons licenses.(35) That development provides scope for matching the level of protection to the content, but it is not one the Journal has so far embraced.
The decision to leave copyright with the author has presented a difficulty over the assignment of the author's rights to publishing houses who wished to re-publish an article as part of a collection of Texts and Materials years after the article was first published. Only the author can authorise commercial reproduction and if the author is untraceable there is no one who can give authorisation.
In 1995 it was uncertain whether the academic community would accept legal writing on-line on the same basis as paper published material. The following year Grant thought it necessary to seek an assurance from the RAE Law Panel that on-line publication would be judged on its merits, and that all the members of the Panel had access to the WWW. The assurance was given, but it is worth remembering that in the mid 1990s not all staff in law schools had ready access to networked computers.
In its early years the Journal picked up ratings from third parties but as the WWW matured these ratings systems ceased. Web JCLI has long been listed in major on-line databases. In some circles the Journal was treated as an in-house production of Newcastle Law School, which was to misunderstand its independence and its anonymous peer review policy.
Early in 2012 three lecturers from Newcastle Law School proposed to inject new life into the Journal by joining the committee, re-branding the Journal, and providing editorial services with PDF files alone instead of html and PDF. The editorial committee felt that the Journal's independence was incompatible with so large an influx from a single University so the proposal was not progressed.
By the end of 2012 the very existence of the Journal was in doubt. The Editor (Professor Anthony Bradney) resigned owing to pressure of other work. The post of Case Notes Editor had been vacant for some time. Grant was unwell. It was decided to cease publication and archive the 18 years of published material. We requested the assistance of Newcastle Law School to host the archive because every id requires someone with responsibility for it. At about this time a chance exchange of emails between Grant and Professor Philip Leith at Queen's University Belfast led to the latter volunteering to take over editorship of the Journal from the beginning of 2013. Leith had already taken on editing the Journal of Information Law and Technology (JILT) and had re-launched it as the European Journal of Law and Technology (EJLT). It then transpired that Newcastle Law School had interpreted our intention to cease publication coupled with the request to host the archive as a request for the Law School to take over editorial control of the Journal. With a new Editor in post and the Journal enabled to continue in publication as an independent entity, this was an outcome to which we could not agree.
So in 2013, after 18 years at Newcastle University, Web JCLI found a new home hosted with Open Journal Systems(36) at Queen's University Belfast. The Editorial Committee and Advisory Board are being enhanced. At first the Journal continued the approach of using a sub-domain of its hosting institution using <http://qub.ac.uk/webjcli> but after a few months it was decided that this was unwieldy and also since it was not a neutral citation which was free of any single institution, the Journal moved to <http://webjcli.org> as its domain name. This will allow it to be hosted either within an academic institution or on a commercial server as future editors require.
The move to OJS dictated a change in the Journal's citation. From the beginning of 2013 there has been a volume number and issue number as well as the year. Since the year is no longer an essential part of the reference it is shown in round brackets, with a sequential volume number and an issue number in round brackets e.g. (2013) 19(1) Web JCLI. The Journal is issued in html format only so there are still no page numbers. Anyone who desires to have a PDF can easily create their own from the html source. An experiment was made with paragraph numbers but it proved unwieldy and was not pursued. Paragraph numbering remains an aim.
The frequency of publication has been reduced to four issues per year. The aim is still commentary on matters of current importance but it was felt fewer issues each with more articles would suit authors better.
The 18 year archive was more of a problem. If the Journal was not to be edited at Newcastle Law School we were asked to remove the files from Newcastle University's servers. Wherever the archive was to be hosted it had to be cost free which seemed to dictate it should be within the ac.uk domain. The Janet eligibility guidelines would not allow the Journal to register with an .ac.uk domain name, unless, perhaps, it became a charity.(37) Queen's University Belfast was approached in December 2012, but it proved impossible to set up the archive at QUB. Moving the archive is not a trivial undertaking. Because we had not foreseen the need to move the Journal, there were many internal links to the full url: webjcli.ncl.ac.uk. Each of these would need to be changed, ideally to a file path relative to the domain name, thus avoiding the need for modification in any future change of hosting service.
Various options were considered including the UK Web Archive run by the British Library,(38) until in November 2013 the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) came to the rescue by agreeing to host the archive at <http://www.bailii.org/uk/other/journals/WebJCLI/>. BAILII is the leading OA provider of primary and secondary legal materials and is used by academics, practitioners and law students alike.(39) Hosting on BAILII, and in particular exposure to BAILII's powerful search engine, should give the Web JCLI archive greater prominence than it has enjoyed as a sub-domain of ncl.ac.uk.
The Journal has had a relay of excellent academic editors but, until the move to OJS, production has been the sole responsibility of a single enthusiast, Grant, who came to the job with no experience of html coding and learned as he went along. In addition to its academic editors and its peer reviewers the Journal will require a copy editor or editors who can ensure compliance with OSCOLA's citation standards and prepare html files for publishing within OJS. To find both skill sets in a single hobbyist is unlikely. In the future the Journal may need to find funds to pay for editorial oversight, peer review, and the production of clean html. It is possible many of these functions could be undertaken by students, for example, postgraduates.
The reader pays model is a dry well. The author pays model may in future provide some funds, but APCs are unlikely to be available for the full range of pieces we publish. A research council might pay the APCs of a significant empirical study, but not of a casenote or a book review. That leaves sponsorship or a mix of APCs and sponsorship. Already Leith has managed to procure £2,000 in sponsorship over two years from the Law School at QUB.
Web JCLI was the first free on-line open access academic law journal in the UK. Now approaching its 20th year of publication the Journal stands as an example of what can be achieved with very little resource but plenty of enthusiasm.
(2) Grant had no formal training in computer systems. He learned as he went along.
(3) Three editions of the Year Book were published between 1995 and 1997. Blackstone Press ceased publication thereafter.
(4) Unix and Linux are operating systems in common use on web servers.
(5) The present 'first come first served' scheme was introduced in 1996 when Nominet took over administration of the registry database. See < http://www.nominet.org.uk/sites/default/files/RegistrationPolicyReview-TermsofReference.pdf> accessed 12 November 2013.
(6) <http://www.doi.org> DOI is an acronym for 'digital object identifier', a unique alphanumeric string assigned to a digital object, e.g. an article in an electronic journal. A DOI number is unique and provides a stable, persistent link to the full-text of the article. A DOI number identifies the object to which it refers. If the object moves to a new location, as is the case with Journal's archive, the DOI remains unchanged.
(7) VAT relief for ejournals was a recommendation of the Finch Report, Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications (2012 Research Information Network) < http://www.researchinfonet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Finch-Group-report-FINAL-VERSION.pdf> accessed 14 November 2013. In May 2013, giving evidence before the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, the Rt Hon Mr David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science said there is no scope within the existing EU VAT legislation to introduce a zero or reduced rate for e-books or ejournals, and the Government had no plans to ask for one. Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Open Access (HC 2013 99-I) Written Evidence Q154 < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmbis/99/130514.htm> accessed 14 November 2013.
(8) There have been attempts to estimate the comparative cost of various publishing models. See Clarke, 'The cost profiles of alternative approaches to journal publishing', (2007) 12(12) First Monday <http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2048> accessed 18 November 2013.
(9) JILT the Journal of Information Law and Technology, now the European Journal of Law and Technology commenced publication in 1996 <http://www.ejlt.org> accessed 10 November 2013. The Journal of Law, Social Justice and Global Development (LGD) followed in 2000<http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/lgd/> accessed 10 November 2013. SCRIPTed, an on-line journal associated with the Centre for Research in Intellectual Property and Technology Law, based in the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, commenced publication in 2004 <http://script-ed.org/> accessed 16 November 2013.
(10) An email exploder sends an email message from one to many.
(11) JISCMail is currently managed by JISC Netskills at Newcastle University.
(12) Html is 'hypertext markup language', the underlying coding of web pages.
(13) The publication date was missed once in November 1998.
Scott, 'The Use of Public Interest Immunity Claims in Criminal
Cases'  2 Web JCLI <http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk/1996/issue2/scott2.html>
accessed 10 November 2013.
Sir Richard was appointed a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, Baron Scott of Foscote, in 2000 and the Supreme Court of England and Wales was renamed the Senior Courts of England and Wales by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, s 59.
(15) Sir Richard Scott, Report of the Inquiry into the Export of Defence Equipment and Dual-Use Goods to Iraq and Related Prosecutions (HMSO, 0-10-262796-7, London, February 1996).
(16) A PDF file encapsulates a complete description of the layout of a document, including text, fonts, graphics, etc. It can be displayed on any equipment with suitable reading software. PDF was a proprietary format of Adobe Corporation. It became an International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard in 2008.
(17) Rich Text Format is a proprietary document file format developed by Microsoft Corporation and viewable in most word processors.
(20) AOLPress was an wysiwig html editor from America Online Inc (AOL). It was discontinued in 2000.
(21) Dreamweaver was a web development tool developed by Macromedia Inc before the company was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005.
(25) The values were H1=arial 16; H2=arial 14; H3=arial 13 ; H4=arial 12.
(26) See nn 22-24.
(27) The RAE was an exercise which produced quality profiles for each submission of research activity made by institutions. In 2014 the REF will produce assessment outcomes for each submission made by institutions.
(29) The term 'Open Access' is associated with the Budapest Open Access Initiative 2002 <http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/read>, the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003) <http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/bethesda.htm> and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003) <http://openaccess.mpg.de/286432/Berlin-Declaration>. See Sauber, Open Access Overview (2004, last revised 2013) <http://bit.ly/oa-overview>. All accessed 15 November 2013.
(30) 'Gold' means the article is the version of record on the journal's own platform and 'gratis' that the article may be read free of charge. See the Finch Report n 33 para 1.9.
(31) Scientific and Technology Committee, Scientific Publications: Free for All? (HC 2004 399-I). < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmsctech/399/399.pdf> accessed 14 November 2013.
(32) Finch, Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications (2012 Research Information Network) < http://www.researchinfonet.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Finch-Group-report-FINAL-VERSION.pdf> accessed 12 November 2013.
(33) A 'hit' is a file being opened. Pages which made up of more than one file will register multiple hits.
(34) When the counter failed some issues had in excess of 20,000 hits.
(37) < https://community.ja.net/library/janet-services-documentation/eligibility-guidelines> accessed 10 November 2013.
(38) < http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/digi/webarch/> accessed 12 November 2013.