Open Access in Law

Author: Hugh Logue

Date: August 15, 2019


A resurgence is taking place in open access in law, creating an emerging threat to legal solution providers that long ago dismissed non-profit organizations and public websites due to basic functionality or slow updates. Tech-savvy governments are launching open access law repositories, academic and non-profit organizations are offering comprehensive legal research platforms, and growing numbers of commercial providers are offering freemium access. This is not merely a competitive threat — it’s a social movement, with many seeking to wipe out the commercial market.



For this report, Outsell defines open access simply as primary law and expert commentary that can be freely accessed and used by anyone. Outsell has not included in the definition free secondary legal content that is not expert analysis, such as website blog posts or legal news, but we do include free legal research platforms that provide journal articles and legal commentary written by experts. Typically, open access is defined as data in open formats that can be freely used and shared for any purpose. However, Outsell recognizes that open access is still underdeveloped in law; only a few organizations and public sector agencies provide their information in genuinely open formats, and most restrict sharing for commercial purposes.

Outsell interviewed a range of market-leading commercial publishers and free open law providers to gather insights on market trends, drivers, and inhibitors. Additionally, we further supported this research through publicly available information, a deep understanding of information-centric disruptive forces, daily interaction with executives in the information industry, and analysis of products and services that Outsell conducts as part of its advisory services.


Table of Contents

Why This Topic


Market Drivers and Inhibitors

Key Legal Open Access Providers

Ten to Watch

Essential Actions

Related Research

About the Author

About Outsell

List of Tables

Table 1: Open Access in Law Providers at a Glance


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