Applying Robert Merton’s "The Normative Structure of Science" to the law

Robert Merton, in “The Normative Structure of Science” (from The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations), posits four sets of “institutional imperatives” that together “comprise the ethos of modern science”: universalism, communism, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism. How well do these four sets of imperatives describe the “ethos of modern law”?

Got an Hour? Create a Server in the Cloud

Image via Wikipedia From the “keeping up with technology” department comes this: Got an Hour? Create a Server in the Cloud – ReadWriteWeb: Dave Winer yesterday announced EC2 for Poets, a step-by-step guide to help you create a server on Amazon’s EC2. His how-to is so easy to understand that we had our own server […]

Patent Gridlock Suppresses Innovation

The Founders might have used quill pens, but they would roll their eyes at how, in this supposedly technology-minded era, we’re undermining their intention to encourage innovation. The U.S. is stumbling in the transition from their Industrial Age to our Information Age, despite the charge in the Constitution that Congress “promote the Progress of Science […]

An Evidence-Based Approach to Law and Science

John Pfaff has been writing a series of articles for PrawfsBlawg over the last month or so, focusing on “Empirical Legal Scholarship” (ELS). ELS brings empirical social science research, including especially statistical studies, into the realm of the law. (Law & Economics would be another, related attempt to bring math and the law together.) One […]

Measuring the impact of technology on the law

It’s difficult to come up with more quantitative measurements to look at how technology has impacted law. One could look at the development of new technologies (via patent applications, perhaps?) and then look to see how soon afterwards the invention began to show up in legal cases. Another interesting idea would be to see if changes in technology–the development of new citation systems, more rapid dissemination of decisions and publications, and later the creation of electronic repositories such as Lexis and Westlaw–had any impact on the way lawyers and judges developed law.

Computer Science Professors' Brief in Grokster

Amici write to call to the Court’s attention several computer science issues raised by Petitioners and amici who filed concurrent with Petitioners, and to correct certain of their technical assertions. First, the United States’ description of the Internet’s design is wrong. P2P networks are not new developments in network design, but rather the design on […]

The tech transfer process: buffering science from commercialism

Technology transfer offices at universities are key players in the process of putting technology to work. They facilitate the sometimes difficult translation of academic discoveries into private, saleable technology. The offices also serve as a buffer between the demands of private enterprise and the Mertonian ideals of the academic “ivory tower,” and the technology transfer process reflects this.

Legal Scholarship, Electronic Publishing, and Open Access

Image via Wikipedia SSRN-Legal Scholarship, Electronic Publishing, and Open Access: Transformation or Steadfast Stagnation? by Stephanie Plotin: Abstract: This article uses a social shaping of technology perspective, which studies the complex interactions between technology and the culture of a discipline, to investigate the evolution of legal scholarship in the digital age, and to determine how […]

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

Sam Kamin at PrawfsBlawg points out that the New York Times has discovered SSRN. He writes: It’s actually a pretty decent synopsis of the SSRN phenomenon, noting that it takes away the power of gatekeepers, makes scholarship available to the masses and lets them decide what’s worthy, etc. It points out that sexy still sells, […]

10 Alternative Legal Research Sites

Looking for alternatives to expensive legal research through Westlaw and LexisNexis? Here’s a non-exhaustive list of ten alternative sources for legal research (aimed primarily at lawyers and law students) that are useful – and much cheaper.

Copyright Fight Brewing Over Amazon's Kindle 2

Copyright Fight Brewing Over Amazon’s Kindle 2 | Threat Level from Wired.com: “They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.” But… Wendy Seltzer, a legal scholar at the Berkman Center for Internet & […]

Science and Protestantism: why is evolution a target?

Why is it that modern Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists seem to struggle with accepting science today? Why does this struggle emerge especially around biology, particularly evolution? And why have many evangelicals turned to approaches like “Intelligent Design,” which instead of replacing science with religion, instead seeks to co-opt science within terms acceptable to Protestant evangelicalism?

A Misguided Philosophy of Science

PrawfsBlawg: A Misguided Philosophy of Science: During my first year as a economics graduate student, I spent at most two minutes thinking about the philosophy behind empirical work. On the first day of my year-long econometrics sequence, our professor quickly reminded us that hypotheses cannot be proven, only disproven. That was it. I don’t even […]

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