Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Open Access in Japan II

To my delight, my previous article, Open Access in Japan was widely read by many who are interested in Open Access (such DigitalKoans and Open Science Federation).  Recently, as a lawyer and a writer at law journals, I personally made one small step toward open access. 

As already written in my previous article, one of my articles has already become open access, as of last year. My article on criminal law was accepted by a university journal (Kiyo). The university journal had a policy of open access and uploaded my article in its institutional repository (where all articles are uploaded). But what happens to the journals which do not have such an open access policy?

Early this month, another article of mine regarding a circular transaction (a kind of transaction conducted for the purpose of window dressing which is often seen in the information technology industry in Japan) was published in a reputable commercial journal. However, the journal does not have an open access policy. This means that in order to read my article, one should either subscribe to the journal or buy that issue of the journal.

After the article was published, the editor sent me the issue of the journal. I read my article and found an error in my article. During the editing process, I already asked the editor to correct that error, but the editor failed to do so by mistake. I asked the editor whether it is possible to correct the error, to which he said no because the journal was already published (with a sincere apology). Then, it occurred to me that this would be a "chance" for my personal open access movement. I asked the editor whether I can obtain a PDF file of the corrected version of my article and self archive it at my law firm's website. I was not sure whether the editor would say yes, because that journal has no history of self archiving by its writers as far as I know. But luckily, the editor agreed to my request. Yesterday, with the kind assistance from my law firm's partner, who is in charge of running the firm's website, my article was finally uploaded on my law firm's website. 

I need to note that my case has some favorable aspects from the viewpoint of open access. My request for the self-archive has a relatively strong reason even for the journal. Through my self-archive, the readers of the journal who wish to read the corrected version of the article can now obtain it. This is different from most cases where an author asks the journal for self-archive. However, I am happy to "pioneer" (as far as I know) self-archiving of the article published in that reputable commercial journal. I know some scholars who are pioneering self-archiving their articles published in other commercial journals. I hope that the actions of these (currently small number of) lawyers (hopefully including me) will become a big movement toward open access in Japan.

DISCLAIMER: "IT Law issues in Japan" only provides general information about Japanese information technology law and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. You should first obtain the advice of professional legal counsel who is qualified in Japan before acting or refraining from acting based on this blog.

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