Welcome to Issue 3 of the European Journal of Law and Technology. The past year has been an interesting experience for me as I have tried to build upon Abdul Paliwala's JILT (our predecessor) and move our focus more to European technology issues in the broadest sense. I have also had to do this in the context of building a new journal format with the Open Journals system which we are currently using.
An open access journal such as EJLT is, in my view, the best way to publish. The author keeps their rights, the work is peer reviewed (and no author ever finds that an article can't be improved by good peer review comments) and the dissemination is as wide as possible – no cuts to journal or library budgets will remove an article from colleagues across the world. Usually, articles can appear in a much shorter period than with print publication. The advantages are thus large and I therefore encourage you to use this format of academic publishing.
This issue covers both legal and technical aspects of law and technology. Dizon's paper is welcome in that for too long public lawyers have ignored ICT issues – yet eGov has had huge sums of money spent on it by governments across the world. Where have the public lawyers been?
Basu and Duffy return to a topic which has been of interest, but under-researched for many years: how to make use of technology in legal advice giving. Their paper raises issues which clearly demand more attention.
Feiler's paper deals with the controversial issue of access to data which is stored by legislative requirement by ISPs. Feiler's conclusion is that, even though are technical problems with data retention, “the public purpose of the data retention is limited by the low effectiveness and the potential negative effects on society as a whole.”
Lim's paper deals with a growing problem to all academics: plagiarism. We have all looked at particular examples of student work and wondered whether the degree of taking from other's work was plagiarism or not. Given the effect that an academic offence can mark a student's future career, we do need to consider more carefully the legal framework in which we make decisions on such student's work.
Ĉyras and Lachmayer and De Mulder et. al.'s papers are welcome as bringing the visual into a legal discussion. The first reports on how one might bring legal understanding to a technical project and thus improve the technology. From the point of view of Artificial Intelligence research such attempts seem to me to offer a half way house between the larboratory and the real world (and most AI projects failed when they tried to move into the world) and thus a more realistic demonstration and test area for the ideas of the AI community. De Mulder's team also report on a project which brought a variety of research views together to analyse the way that we assess memory from eyewitnesses. The development of software – Cormas – opens up the possibility of closer analysis and peer review of such projects and I would hope that the team would make this available to other potential authors of the EJLT.
Finally, a topic close to my own research in the 1980s – online legal services. Mountain reviews Burn's dissertation and offers a slighly more optimistic perspective. Once again, we welcome commentaries or articles developing these issues.Philip Leith