What is Open Access?

Open access (OA) is the practice of providing unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly research. It is most commonly applied to scholarly journal articles, but it is also increasingly being provided to theses, scholarly monographs and book chapters.


At Duke, one of the signature themes of our mission is putting knowledge in the service of society. This means making the fruits of Duke research available as broadly as possible Â— not just to researchers at places like Duke that have subscription access to scholarly literature via their libraries but to anyone who might benefit from the scholarship being done here.

Duke University supports open access through a number of initiatives and encourages Duke scholars to work toward making their research openly accessible.

Support for Open Access at Duke University

Open Access Policy for Faculty Scholarship

In March 2010, the Duke University Academic Council adopted an open access policy that applies to all Duke faculty members and, unless individual authors choose to opt-out, provides Duke a license to make scholarly articles authored by Duke faculty freely available via a Duke University Libraries repository known as DukeSpace. The text of the policy is found in Appendix P of the Faculty Handbook. If your publisher requests a formal letter waiving the faculty open access policy (i.e., asking you to opt out), please send an email to open-access@duke.edu that includes the name of the publisher and the citation of the article.

The DukeSpace repository hosts articles made available under this policy, as well as other scholarly resources from Duke. Duke faculty may deposit their work to DukeSpace via the Elements system, while building their Scholars@Duke profile.

Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) Fund

Open-access journals make their articles available freely to anyone, without subscription costs, while providing the same peer review and other services common to all scholarly journals. To cover the costs of these services, some OA journals charge fees to authors instead, once their work has been selected for publication.

In 2010, Duke joined the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) and established a fund to help Duke researchers cover author fees and to remove the financial barriers to publishing in OA journals.

Learn whether you are eligible for COPE funds and request help.

Electronic Theses & Dissertations

The Duke University Graduate School requires all students to submit their theses and dissertations electronically. All submissions are accessible in the DukeSpace repository under a Creative Commons license. Authors have the option of placing a temporary embargo on their work. 

Open Access Journal Publishing

If you're interested in creating a peer-reviewed online journal or in transitioning an existing one to an open access online version, Duke University Libraries can help by providing a platform and technical support. We currently support several journals using the Open Journal Systems platform.

Open Access at Duke Law

In 1998, the Duke University School of Law became the first in the country to make all the articles published in its law journals — including back issues — freely accessible online. The Duke Law Scholarship Repository continues to provide free, full-text access to more than 3,000 scholarly articles written by Duke Law faculty or published in Duke Law journals.

Open Access at Duke Medical Center

The Duke Medical Center Library & Archives supports open access to health and medical information.