First of all I would like to welcome a new member of the editorial board: professor Symeon
Symeonides, who teaches at Louisiana State University Law School. He is a well-known and
highly experienced comparative law scholar. Prof. Symeonides is also the secretary of the
American Society of Comparative Law. The editorial board is looking forward to working
together with such an outstanding comparative lawyer. More information about professor
Symeonides can be found at: http://www.ejcl.org/cv/cv-symeon.html
In this editorial I would like to make some remarks about the role of easily accessible information while doing comparative research. For comparative lawyers the question of how to find information which is both recent and correct has always been a major problem, not to mention the difficulties which arise from having to access information in foreign languages. It is therefore not surprising that comparative lawyers were immediately attracted by the possibilities that the Internet offers. This does not mean that paper publishing suddenly became less attractive, but its role is changing vitally. What I find very interesting to see in this respect is the growing osmosis between electronic and paper publishing. I am frequently being asked if the EJCL accepts articles which will later be published in printed form. The answer always is positive, as long as we are the first to publish. It is the aim of this journal to be just as innovative and new as any other established paper journal, so we refuse articles which are not according to our academic standards or which have already been published in whatever form elsewhere. On the other hand, as we are not a commercial publisher, we are not interested in obtaining anyone's copyright in order to make as much profit as possible. Our authors are only required to give us a licence to publish the article in electronic format. It is completely up to them to republish the article, e.g. as part of a collection of essays or in a reader to be used by students. Commercial publishers also try to reach such an osmosis, particularly in regard to the paper journals they publish, but they approach the matter from the opposite side. They still demand from authors to transfer their copyright, but then offer readers the possibility to access a website where a summary of the article can be found together with some extra information, which was freely accessible anyway or which refers back to sources that require payment for use. It is clear that even this growing osmosis between electronic and paper publishing cannot hide the fundamentally different approaches between electronic journals like EJCL, aimed at making information as freely accessible as possible, and commercially published journals.
A good example of how the Internet can help finding materials is a paper to be published by the Netherlands Comparative Law Association on teaching law from a comparative perspective. The paper was written by professor Ewoud Hondius from the Law Faculty of Utrecht University and president of the Association. It was discussed during a lively debate at its General Meeting on December 18, 1998. The paper is to published in Dutch, but the author expressed his intention to publish it also in English. Hondius discusses and compares the various types of legal education in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland. What he writes is partly based on his personal experience, but a substantial amount of the information used was found on the Internet. Many universities now have excellent WWW sites with information for students, teachers, and other employees, as well as for those interested in studying at that university. And all of this information is recent, updated, it can be accessed from your desk wherever you are, and it is free. And this is not only true for university-specific information, but also for more general information about, e.g., plans to change university curricula, as are being discussed in France, or policy discussions as to the desirability of ranking law faculties. I refer to the report written by Jacques Attali "Pour un modèle européen d'enseignement supérieur" to be found at the WWW site of Le Monde: http://www.lemonde.fr/dossiers/attali/index.html, but also to the report prepared for the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) against the widely used (also by non-Americans) ranking of law schools by U.S. News and World Report (see their WWW site at: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad98/law_srch.htm The report prepared for the AALS can be found at: http://www.aals.org/98-10.html Hondius has shown that traditional comparative study and research through the Internet are more and more coming together.
In this issue we publish an article written by Danny Busch, concerning indirect representation
and the Lando Principles, an analysis of some problem areas from the perspective of English
law. The editorial board adheres to its rigorous academic standards, even if this leads to a
situation in which we publish - as in this issue - only one article. We do, however, expect to
be able to publish several articles in each issue next year.
Sjef van Erp