Why Isn’t the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies On Westlaw?

jels.jpgThe Journal of Empirical Studies is by one measure (currency-impact) the 11th ranked journal in law. It’s certainly extremely well cited: work from the journal was featured extensively in last term’s most quanty Supreme Court opinion & JELS is tied with the Journal of Legal Studies in its use by courts. Moreover, when compared with student run law reviews and with peer journals, JELS contains a significant number of articles of practical interest to practitioners. (Check out some sample issues.)

So why isn’t JELS on Westlaw or Lexis? The only way to get the Journal is through a subscription. This means that lawyers are significantly less likely to be able to access the journal than they would otherwise be.

Now, on the one hand, it’s true that Westlaw is a bad fit for empirical work, since it turns figures and tables into “TABULAR AND GRAPHIC MATERIAL NOT DISPLAYED.” But, even so, is there a good reason why Westlaw hasn’t taken the journal up? Or why Lexis hasn’t tried to gain a competitive advantage by (i) getting a license for the journal; or (ii) figuring out a way to index full-text-searchable pdfs?

Any readers (at West’s database team?) have ideas?

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1 Response

  1. Jerry says:

    Try to get W.S. Hein to add JEL to HeinOnline, the electronic database for many journals. The presentation of the journal is as a very useful PDF format. HeinOnline is a tremendously useful tool for those of us needing access to a wide range of journals. One drawback is that HeinOnline is ordinarily several issues short of being current.