Chapter Three: Osgoode Research: Shaping the Debate

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Osgoode is committed to continuing to produce and disseminate excellent legal research and scholarship that has local, national  and international impact in academic and public discourse, law and policy. Over the next three years, Osgoode will seek to build on the long history of, and reputation for, thought leadership established by its faculty and students. This summary is drawn from Osgoode’s broader Research Plan. Osgoode’s goals over the life of this Plan include:

  • Enhance and support a culture of scholarly inquiry and research intensification;
  • Broaden and deepen the impact of faculty scholarship;
  • Encourage and grow new areas of research opportunity, including those that may use non-traditional and interdisciplinary research methodologies.

Osgoode boasts a vibrant research culture nurtured by faculty with ambitious and cutting-edge research agendas, thriving research centres and institutes, a world class Law Library, a Graduate Studies program that is nationally and internationally recognized, and a growing number of globally renowned and award- winning scholars, many of whom attract significant external research funding. While we celebrate these existing strengths, there are opportunities for Osgoode to enhance and support its culture of critical scholarly inquiry. These include:

  • Continuing to develop a collegially-based approach to supporting research development and success, with ongoing funding to support Osgoode’s scholars pursuing small and large-scale research projects through the Research Intensification
  • Improving the capacity for Osgoode faculty to conduct major research projects involving Research Stream graduate students, and to build research partnerships by increasing the quality and quantity of external research grant and funding
  • Increasing opportunities for Osgoode faculty to dedicate more time and focused attention to research-based activities between sabbaticals by growing the number of Osgoode faculty who hold research chairs, professorships, and fellowships, and exploring other means by which to clear time for sustained focus on research
  • Continuing to enhance and promote the use of the Osgoode Research Hub as a dedicated physical space in the Law School for interactive research engagement that fosters collaboration, research discussions, and a strong research The Research Hub is a  vibrant physical space newly repurposed with the objective of fostering research and academic collaboration. The space now houses Osgoode’s Research Office as well as our cutting-edge Media Innovation & Creativity Lab, a casual lounge-library, and shared workspaces.
  • Encouraging the integration of JD and graduate students into Osgoode’s research communities, centres and institutes, allowing Osgoode to attract top Research Stream graduate students and to nurture the research potential of all of our students, through the following initiatives:
    • Osgoode will strive to more fully integrate its graduate students into the research life of the Law School by ensuring effective cooperation between research and Graduate program administration, thereby providing more funded research-related opportunities to graduate students; and encouraging and assisting faculty to build funding for graduate students into external research grant applications;
    • Osgoode will continue in its efforts to encourage JD students to participate in its research culture by providing more opportunities for students to contribute to research projects through Research Assistant and other positions with Osgoode faculty or research centres. In addition, the Law School will continue to support an annual JD Research Symposium, as well as many student editorial positions and publication platforms; and
    • Osgoode will establish a Dean’s award for JD research excellence, and maintain a record of student-authored publications.

Broadening and Deepening the Impact of Faculty Scholarship

Osgoode has an impressive history of producing field-defining scholarship, and continues to be regarded as one of the world’s top law faculties for excellence in research. Osgoode’s thought leaders push boundaries and exert influence in academic scholarship, national and international policy-making, domestic and international jurisprudence, law reform and public debate.

Driven by new technological platforms and possibilities, the methods and media by which we communicate and share legal research are in flux. This produces two pressing challenges: first, to ensure that we utilize the most effective methods currently available to us for disseminating research (while avoiding premature commitments to particular platforms); and second, to identify the most reliable and meaningful measures for gauging, comparing and communicating the quality and impact of our faculty’s research contributions.

In order to broaden and deepen the impact of faculty scholarship, Osgoode will:

  • Continue to enable and promote open access to Osgoode Research through the development of transparent open access publishing and research management policies, the promotion of best practices for open access publishing at Osgoode, and effective use of the Osgoode Digital Commons.
  • Continue to enable and promote research aimed at policy and law reform, through developing Osgoode’s partnership with the Law Commission of Ontario, reinvigorating the York Centre for Public Policy and Law, hosting policy and law reform events and facilitating the capacity of Osgoode researchers to disseminate research through a variety of
  • Increase the engagement of the Osgoode community in the internal dissemination of Osgoode supports and hosts an incredible wealth of research events each year, including an increasing number of faculty seminars to workshops, and from speakers’ series to conferences.
  • Develop a comprehensive communications strategy and engagement plan that will support the wide and effective dissemination of Osgoode The broad dissemination of research multiplies the possible pathways to impact. By continuing to improve our external communications regarding the work of Osgoode researchers we can help them to reach new audiences, and raise the profile of their research projects. Osgoode will encourage and provide enhanced supports to faculty to pursue diverse means of knowledge dissemination.
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to accurately and fairly measure and represent the research contributions made by Osgoode While traditional metrics, such as publication and citation counts, the h-index, external funding, etc. will necessarily remain important indicators of our research productivity and success, any effort to measure the quality of Osgoode research must strive for a fuller understanding and appreciation of the many ways in which our researchers influence the academic conversation, the development of law, policy and public discourse.

Encourage and Grow New Areas of Research Opportunity

Osgoode research continues to bring a sharp-edge focus to contemporary legal issues. From Aboriginal law and transnational legal theory to intellectual property law and environmental justice, Osgoode’s research remains diverse, innovative and committed to addressing issues of inequality   and injustice. As leaders in the field of collaborative and interdisciplinary research that reflects the pluralism of law, Osgoode takes great pride in supporting research partnerships at local, national and international levels and encouraging collaborations that cross disciplines and break through silos. As we look forward to the next three years, we see tremendous opportunity to build on these research strengths. Osgoode will encourage and enable scholars to explore new areas of research opportunity, including research on pedagogy, interdisciplinary research collaborations (including the use of non- traditional and interdisciplinary methodologies), and academic and non-academic partnerships at the local and global levels. All research initiatives pursued or promoted by the law school will be open to participation by all faculty members with relevant research interests. In particular, Osgoode  will:

  • Explore ways to assist faculty in showcasing and translating their creative and innovative approaches to legal education into research Innovative legal education is a research output in itself. Osgoode is a national leader in innovative legal pedagogy (see Chapter 2: Students). This connection between innovative teaching methods and research successes – between great teaching and excellence in research – will continue to be a core value for Osgoode.
  • Promote research initiatives that advance access to The establishment of the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, which launched in 2013, has provided significant opportunities for innovation leadership and engagement with local and national justice sector organizations (for example, various teaching, research and innovation projects with Legal Aid Ontario, the Cyberjustice Lab, International Academy of Mediators, Yukon Courts, the Justice Design Project, etc.). Osgoode’s partnership with the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice (CFCJ) has deepened the Law School’s connections to local, national and global initiatives relating to access to justice.
  • Sustain our strong culture of community-engaged research and enhance the impact of such research through improved dissemination of research When community partners are involved in all aspects of research, including the conception, design and execution of research projects, the result is research that is relevant to society, and research products that have immediate impacts. Osgoode continues to be a leader in community-engaged research, reflecting its commitment to collaborative leadership and social justice.
  • Explore how best to nurture and support the development of research agendas in non- traditional areas, or those employing novel approaches to legal scholarship, thereby encouraging the use of research as a driver of change and innovation in It is an important facet of Osgoode’s research culture that faculty freely set their own research agendas, which has produced a long history and reputation for working at the cutting edge of legal research. This may involve pursuing scholarship in areas that are emergent and experimental, that reimagine what law is or how it works, and that present new critical perspectives. The Law School is committed to supporting and recognizing legal scholarship and research without restrictions as to area or approach.

Global Reach

Osgoode is in the midst of significant growth in international research partnerships, including research funding relationships and exchange programs for researchers. With the support of the Osgoode South Asian Advisory Council, Osgoode has deepened its relationships throughout the region, including clerkships for Osgoode students with Indian Courts, and new partnerships with the Jindal Global Law School, and the National Law University (Delhi). Through the Osgoode in China program’s outreach, new partnerships were forged with Tsinghua University in Beijing (supported by the Felix Fong ‘78 Osgoode/China Travel Fund),  and Osgoode welcomed its first summer institute program from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. International research partnerships can provide a catalyst for new ideas and research projects that have global impact.

Osgoode’s expansive and growing list of Institutional Exchange Agreements, the growth of OsgoodePD’s International Business Law LLM and LLM in Canadian Common Law programs, as well as our leadership in the Association of Transnational Law Schools (ATLAS), illustrate our ongoing commitment to extending Osgoode’s global  reach.

Conclusion

Osgoode is committed to maintaining a vibrant research culture that reflects a shared sense of the importance of legal research and scholarship to the institution, the academy, and the public at  large.

We will seek to ensure that generous research supports and opportunities are accessible to our researchers, sustaining conditions conducive to ground-breaking, productive and rewarding research careers.

Through a revitalized Research Intensification Fund, we will advance the goals set out in this Plan, and further seek to ensure that Osgoode’s excellent and innovative research, and the broad benefits that flow from it, are accessible to the widest possible audience.