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 — 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 and scholarly publishers to work toward making more research openly accessible.

Duke University Open Access Policy

In March 2010, the Duke University Academic Council adopted an open access policy that applies to all Duke faculty members and 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 section 6.4 of Duke’s Research Policy Manual.

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.

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, and we will work with you and the publisher to provide what’s needed.

You can also contact open-access@duke.edu with any questions you might have about open access initiatives at Duke, how to make your work open access, or how to encourage publishers you work with to enable more open access. We’re glad to talk with you about these issues!


Why support open access?

  • Psychology and neuroscience post-doc Steve Stanton says that publishing in an open access format leads to better press coverage, more visibility and increased name recognition at conferences.
  • Biologist Mohamed Noor on how open access publishing has led to more visibility, citations, and possible career advancement.

Open Access Initiatives and Resources


Electronic Theses & Dissertations

The Duke University Graduate School requires all students to submit their theses and dissertations electronically, and Duke Libraries make them available to all via the DukeSpace repository.

Learn how to submit your thesis or dissertation. 


Supporting Open Access Publishing

Duke Libraries provide financial and in-kind support to a number of initiatives and publishers who are committed to making research openly available to all. We can also help you transition your journal to open access. Contact us at open-access@duke.edu to learn more.

See some of the projects we support.


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.