Juridikbok.se is a publishing platform for digitized Swedish legal literature. Developing Juridikbok.se is a pragmatic response to the problem that important but out-of-print Swedish legal texts are increasingly inaccessible, as they are only available in a diminishing number of print copies that are falling apart from high use. At Lund University, a research representative together with the Faculty of Law Library leads the work to secure the rights to titles affiliated with LU and collaborates with the University library to digitize and publish the e-books on Juridikbok.se, as well as on LU’s platform Open Books at Lund University (OBLU). After many years of law libraries struggling to provide access to these books, a growing collection of them are now freely available to anyone with an internet connection.
The first seed of the project was planted in 2019, when a discussion about access to older titles started on a national e-mail list for law libraries. There were signs that one of the major publishers of Swedish legal literature was considering some of its older titles for digitization. While the titles were important to the larger Swedish legal community, the titles initially discussed had little commercial value as single monographs; this sparked concerns that this crucial literature would be commercially digitized and packaged as part of larger collection behind a paywall. Not long before this conversation took place, Uppsala university library had successfully digitized and published one of these sought-after titles Open Access. There was also a Danish project called Jurabog.dk that successfully had set out to solve the same problem in Denmark. While Danish copyright law is different from that in Sweden, perhaps the universities could collaborate in getting some of these hard-to-access books digitized and published in a similar manner?
Over the next few months, representatives from The Supreme court, The Supreme Administrative Court, law firms, publishers, and several university libraries got involved in discussions. Eventually a fundraising foundation, Stiftelsen för tillgängliggörande av juridisk litteratur, was established, with a board which included representatives from the Swedish Bar Association, courts, university libraries and legal publishers. Eddy.se, a Swedish academic publisher, was contracted to develop and administer Juridikbok’s publishing platform.
The stated goal for the project Juridikbok.se is to make Swedish legal literature openly available online for free. The project is limited to books and other publications that no longer have commercial value to the copyright owner, which might be the author (or their family), the publisher, or both. Many of the titles discussed early on were prime candidates for being digitized as part of the project, but reaching out and securing the permissions from copyright holders can be a slow and somewhat complicated process. This part of the work is therefore distributed and carried out by a network with research representatives from the collaborating universities, each of which is responsible for titles authored by its affiliated authors. Once a book is cleared for publication, copies are sourced from either university libraries or by donations, then digitized by the libraries and uploaded to Juridikbok. As previously mentioned, Lund university via the Faculty of Law Library also secures permissions and publishes its titles on the OBLU platform for visibility in the local collections.