Altneueland – European Law Open published by Cambridge University Press: Welcome

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There is cause for celebration in the European legal publishing world and indeed beyond: a new journal, European Law Open (ELO), is published by Cambridge University Press. We warmly welcome this new venture.

ELO is unlike any other learned journal dedicated to European law. It has an illustrious past in the form of the pioneering European Law Journal (ELJ), which first blazed a trail beyond the more traditional forms of legal scholarship to which other European law journals at the time were mainly dedicated.   

Some readers may recall the outraged Editorial we wrote a couple of years ago in response to what we considered to be the entirely unethical and anti-academic conduct of Wiley Publishing, which led to the collective resignation of ELJ’s Editors-in-Chief and its entire Editorial and Advisory Boards. You might want to refresh your memory here. It is both an ugly and a sobering story. It is a stark and unpleasant example of how the relationship between a publisher and an academic scholarly journal should not be. As an academic community we, whose labour and commitment supplies the intellectual content, editorial curation and peer reviewing that create the journal’s value, should not tolerate or accept Wiley-like conduct. We should support and contribute to journals that are founded on relationships of mutual responsibility and respect between publisher and the academic community.

We are writing to express our delight at the birth of European Law Open. ELO is the imaginative and creative reincarnation of the old European Law Journal. You could do no better than to look at the statement of its Editors introducing the new venture to appreciate how it contains both elements of continuity with the original European Law Journal and also a whole range of new and exciting thinking about both European law and the role of scholarly journals in this field. 

For our part, we would like to highlight a number of features of the new ELO which we find particularly appealing.

First, ELO represents both a model for a responsible relationship between a learned journal and a publisher as well as a creative navigation of the new Open Access world of publishing.

Second, ELO brings a spirit of experimentation to both format and substance. The journal breaks with some of the conventional formats of publishing, for example, the classic 10,000-word article, and will be experimenting with both longer and shorter pieces as well as other innovative possibilities.  

Third, while ELO will continue to welcome its hallmark law-in-context scholarship, and indeed the best of doctrinal legal scholarship, the journal’s titular openness aims to welcome many other forms as well. It positions itself as a meeting place for different disciplinary approaches to the field, and as a journal which is intellectually, methodologically, and geographically open.

Finally, for our part, given the successful recent experience of the European Society of International Law (originally a creature of the European Journal of International Law) and of ICON•S (originally the brainchild of the I•CON journal), with annual meetings that attract one thousand participants and more, is it not time for a European Law Society centred on ELO and conceived in a similar spirit, as a counterweight to the staid, expensive, and hierarchical International Federation of European Law (FIDE)?  There is clearly a thirst for an intellectual forum of this kind, an annual meeting place for the wide-ranging community of scholars that ELO aims to serve.  Watch this space!

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Anon says

September 27, 2022

The open access feature is great news, well done ELO.
Why EJIL's editors do not make a similar move is beyond me.