OBserving Law - IALS Open Book Service for Law

OBserving Law - the IALS Open Book Service for Law is an open access book publishing initiative developed with the School of Advanced Study and University of London Press.

The University of London Press builds on a century of publishing tradition by disseminating distinctive scholarship at the forefront of the humanities. Based at the School of Advanced Study, the press seeks to facilitate collaborative, inclusive, open access, scholar-led interchange, within and beyond the academy.

Our open access books are free to read online and download in PDF format for anyone in the world to use in the Humanities Digital Library.

  • The aim of the IALS Open Book Service for Law is to provide a showcase for the vibrant state of legal scholarship, by publishing the best monographic works in law and making them free to read anywhere.
  • The imprint embraces the full scope of legal scholarship, from doctrinal analysis, to theoretical exploration and empirical study, and also welcomes interdisciplinary approaches.
  • The aim is to publish innovative and intellectually stimulating fully peer reviewed work which will reach a worldwide audience, widen knowledge and understanding, and play a major role in policy, practice and legal education.
  • We welcome proposals from individual authors and editors from across the academic and legal research community - including within and external to the University of London, and from learned societies and organisations.
  • Our business model is designed to meet the requirements of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2027 policy on long-form scholarly work and offer authors a full range of quality assured open access and print on demand options.

Information for Booksellers

Bookshops are automatically offered trade discount if they buy direct from the distributor.

For EU/UK 

NBNi: https://distribution.nbni.co.uk/contact-us/#a1175

For North America (USA, Canada) 

Chicago Distribution Centre (contact Stephanie Short): https://press.uchicago.edu/cdc/contacts.html

Now published

The latest publication from OBserving Law - the IALS Open Book Service for Law - is the 5th Edition of Electronic Evidence and Electronic Signatures, Edited By Stephen Mason and Daniel Seng. Published 1 August 2021.

A landmark publication from OBserving Law is an Open Access edition of Women and the Law by Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett (now Brenda Hale). The OA edition is freely available and print on demand copies may be purchased on request.

Women and the Law by Susan Atkins and Brenda Hoggett was published originally in 1984. It was one of the very first modern books of its kind – providing pioneering legal scholarship on women’s treatment under law.  It is a key and influential text.

Following publication by Basil Blackwell Ltd in 1984 Women and the Law was short­listed for the Fawcett Prize. It is described by Hilaire Barnett’s ‘Sourcebook of feminist jurisprudence’ as: “One of the first legal texts on women and the law in Britain”. A quick Google search today will find it referenced by scholarly articles in every decade since publication – 1986, 1995, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013.

Reading the book now you can appreciate how inspirational it was and how relevant it still is.  It leaves the reader with a greater understanding of how the law developed and makes you think about what has happened since 1984 and the impact of initiatives from European law and social changes, such as greater recognition of sexual identities. That in turn makes you wonder where things may go next.

Since 1984 the authors, Dr Susan Atkins CB and Brenda Hale (President of The Supreme Court, The Right Hon the Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE) have achieved distinguished careers in law and public service. This 2018 Open Access edition includes a new Foreword and provides a timely opportunity to revisit their ground breaking analysis and reflect on how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same.

Dr Susan Atkins CB:

Our message in 1984 was that the law was based on an experience that was usually male, although it purported to be objective and gender neutral. Looked at from the experience of women’s lives and concerns, there were huge gaps and deficiencies in the law, which Women and the Law exposed.

The open access edition provides an opportunity to place the book in context but also to sketch out how the law has developed in key areas since 1984. A new foreword seeks to examine briefly why Women and the Law was important, where progress has been made, stalled or is at risk and why, in the face of new challenges, a feminist approach is still necessary.

A celebration of the republication of Women and the Law

An event with the authors to celebrate the republication of this landmark work was held in the Council Chamber at the IALS on Tuesday 4th December 2018. Video recordings from the event are available at: http://ials.sas.ac.uk/digital/videos/celebration-republication-women-and-law

IALS PhD Thesis Book Prize 

Dr Virginie Rouas wins 1st IALS PhD Thesis Book Prize. The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies is delighted to announce the winner of the first IALS PhD Thesis Book Prize competition. The prize of a publishing contract with the IALS Open Book Service for Law has been awarded by the Editorial Board and Judging panel to Dr Virginie Rouas for her work:  In Search of Corporate Accountability: Transnational Litigation against Multinational Enterprises in France and the Netherlands. Virginie undertook her doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is currently developing a book based on her PhD thesis (SOAS, 2017) for publication by IALS in 2020. The book is provisionally entitled Achieving Access to Justice in the Business and Human Rights Context: An Assessment of Litigation and Regulatory Responses in Europe.

Publishing Open Access with the IALS

OBserving Law aims to provide a new open access monograph publishing service for legal researchers, enabling their work to reach the widest possible audience worldwide. This initiative, very much part of the Institute's research facilitation role, is developing a freely available national service.

Open access refers to the free access and generally free reuse (usually with some restrictions) of published research. It represents a shift in attitudes towards both the dissemination and utility of research and the cost of access to readers and scholars.

We welcome submissions and proposals for monographs, textbooks, edited volumes and other scholarly works, including shorter form books, reference materials and born-digital content. Submissions for consideration by the IALS Editorial Board will be accepted from individual authors and editors, both within and external to the University of London, and a publishing service will also be provided to learned societies and organisations.

IALS Open Book Service for Law - Editorial Board

Editorial oversight is provided by an Editorial Board for the IALS Open Book Service for Law - bringing together the skills and experience of academics, librarians and publishing professionals.

  • Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (University of Kent and IALS) - Joint General Editor and Chair
  • Professor Fiona Cownie (Keele University)
  • David Gee (IALS)
  • Richard Hart (Consultant Publisher)
  • Professor Rosemary Hunter (University of Kent)
  • Professor Ambreena Manji (Cardiff University)
  • Sandy Dutczak (IALS) - Joint General Editor

Peer Review Policy

All books published in our open access programme must meet necessary standards for originality, significance and rigour. Proposals will be considered by our Editorial team and independent expert academic reviewers. We are committed to the publication of high quality academic research which adheres to the requirements of the Research Excellence Framework.

Expressions of interest to assist the law service with peer review are very welcome. Please contact: sandy.dutczak@sas.ac.uk

Ready for REF 2027 policy on OA monographs

All long-form research published in book form will need to be made available in open access formats to qualify for submission for the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise in 2027. This will effectively include long-form narrative work and monographs published after the 2021 REF submission. Our business model and scholarly publishing system providing open access digital publication of peer reviewed books is ready now.

Publication Formats

OBserving Law is part of a shared catalogue for the Humanities Digital Library developed with the PKP Open Monograph Press open source application linked to the SAS-Space e-repository for sustainability and preservation.

Titles will be made freely available in PDF format with single volume and separate chapter versions, each with assigned DOI and title ISBNs.

Print on demand (POD) paperback purchase option and epub format purchase options will be offered as standard with a hardback choice for libraries and others that may prefer that format.

Will look to enrich digital version with live hyperlinks and other opportunities to expand the online presence through discussion and commentary.

Open Access publishing fees

OBserving Law - the IALS Open Book Service for Law plans to publish a number of titles each year without a publication fee, Book Processing Charge (BPC)  or charges to authors. Books will be made available as ebooks in pdf format as freely accessible, DRM-free, digital files, and will also be available for epub purchase and/or print on demand purchase.

In addition eligible works may be funded and published through the SAS Humanities Digital Library arrangements for authors who do not have access to publication funding. The HDL also works alongside publishing partners, such as learned societies and professional associations, to enable fee-free open access publishing for Early Career Researchers.

Fund sources for Open Access Scholarly books

Submit a Proposal

Please contact: sandy.dutczak@sas.ac.uk in the first instance with proposals and queries. Please refer to Submission Guidelines for more information.

Page last updated: 23rd August 2021