Legal research when relying on open access: a primer

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With more and more information disclosed online and with open-access policies on the rise, legal academic research is becoming more accessible. The potential impact of this development is enormous, particularly in areas or jurisdictions where offline information is scarce and where access to subscription-based journals or books is limited or non-existing. Because the current literature lacks materials that guide researchers who conduct legal research while relying on open access, this article discusses where and how to find and select relevant academic books, journal articles and working papers in the open-access world. The resources, selection tools and search strategies explained in this article focus on finding open-access sources in English. Consequently, this article aims to assist researchers who rely on materials that are freely accessible because they lack access to books and to subscription-based journals outside of their own jurisdiction. The section on search strategy is relevant for researchers who aim to identify sources in an effective and efficient way.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalLaw and Method
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • methodology
  • legal
  • open access
  • sources
  • Search strategy

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