What Elsevier’s acquisition of bepress means for legal scholarship: Backgrounder and commentary

A few weeks ago we wrote about the launch of LawArXiv, a new legal scholarship repository aimed at ensuring community ownership of legal scholarship and preventing legal research from being overwhelmed by the profit motivations that govern other repositories. The launch of LawArXiv couldn’t be more timely.

This month Elsevier (a related company to LexisNexis) announced its acquisition of bepress (formerly Berkeley Electronic Press), a scholarly communications company whose services include Digital Commons, an institutional repository platform and expressO, an online article manuscript delivery and management service for law reviews.

The acquisition of bepress is of particular importance to the academic law community as the Digital Commons is currently used by 74% of US law schools with a digital repository. The Digital Commons also includes the Law Commons Network, a  open access database of over 350,000 law related scholarly works, aggregated from across all Digital Commons repositories.

This acquisition is the latest of a string of Elsevier’s recent acquisitions that have expanded its role from a publisher of academic journals to a company seeking to be involved in all aspects of scholarly communication.  This string of acquisitions includes Elsevier’s acquisition last year of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), an  open access repository for scholarship from a variety of disciplines, including the largest legal scholarship repository Legal Scholarship Network.

See the articles below for a roundup of recent commentary on the acquisition and what it means for legal scholars and the broader academic community.

Robert Ambrogi, “Elsevier Acquires bepress, Open-Access Repository of Law Reviews, Other Scholarly Articles” (August 3, 2017), LawSites (blog), archived at <https://perma.cc/58XA-J62D>.

Paul Basken, “Elsevier is Becoming a Data Company. Should Universities be Wary?” (August 7, 2017), The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Barbara Fister, “Just Business” (August 8, 2017), Inside Higher Ed – Library Babel Fish (blog), archived at <https://perma.cc/4VAF-93GZ>.

Lindsay McKenzie, “Elsevier Expands Footprint in Scholarly Workflow” (August 3, 2017), Inside Higher Ed.

Glyn Moody, “Elsevier Continues to Build its Monopoly Solution for all Aspects of Scholarly Communication” techdirt.

Kevin O’Keefe, “Elsevier acquires bepress: Library and Knowledge Community Respond” (August 3, 2017), LexBlog (blog), archived at <https://perma.cc/Y7AW-4VT6>.

Roger C Schonfeld, “Elsevier Acquires bepress“, (August 2, 2017), The Scholarly Kitchen (blog), archived at <https://perma.cc/V9HZ-9BA4>.

Roger C Schonfeld, “Reflections on ‘Elsevier Acquires bepress’ Implications for Library Leaders“, (August 7, 2017), Ithaka SR (blog), archived at<https://perma.cc/PDT9-Z22F>.

What Was Bepress” (August 9, 2017) Gavia Libraria (blog), archived at <https://perma.cc/VY62-87NW>.