Photo of desk with notebook, computer, and phoneScholarly Publishing Services through Duke Libraries

As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities and challenges of scholarly publishing evolve with it. You can share your work broadly, online, without necessarily working with a publisher. What’s the best way to do that? What issues should you consider when planning? And who at Duke is available to help? This page is a starting point for a number of topics to help members of the Duke community in planning and developing a digital scholarly publication.

Ask us: If you’d like to consult with experts at Duke University Libraries who can help you with planning, contact scholarworks@duke.edu with your questions or ideas, and we’ll put you in contact with the appropriate person to help.


Plan and create a digital publication

Whether you’re just exploring the possibilities for digital publishing or actively pursuing a digital outlet for your scholarship, planning ahead is a key step to ensuring you choose the right platform, marshal the resources needed, and ensure the sustainability of your digital work. Talk with experts and organizations on campus who can help you think through the possibilities, plot your way forward, and even partner with you to implement your project.

Duke Libraries can help you with:

  • Scoping your project, to ensure adequate time and resources to meet your goals
  • Addressing copyright considerations, both for republishing your or others’ material and for how you want others to be able to use your work
  • Choosing a platform that meets your publishing and technical support needs (e.g., open journals, WordPress sites)
  • Selecting a service provider who can help with editing, hosting, or disseminating your publishing project
  • Planning how your publication will grow and be sustained beyond the project phase
  • Locating funding sources and developing models for financing your project (e.g., Duke’s Compact on Open Access Publishing Equity Fund)
  • Identifying a viable publisher for your digital project

Build audience engagement and impact

Is your digital publication reaching the audience you intended? How can you discover and engage in broader conversations about your work? A number of analytical tools, both free and Duke-licensed, can give you a big picture view of who’s reading and sharing your work, as well as the ability to drill down to find out exactly how your work is being referenced. Social media and other online forms of networking can help you connect with communities impacted by and invested in your area of work. Having a plan for how to activate those audiences can make those interactions more rewarding for your future scholarly work.

Duke Libraries can help you with:

Improve discovery and use

Through the magic of search engines, many digital scholarly websites are “discovered” by potential users. But knowing how those search engines search your publication, and actively building more connections to your site, can better ensure that audiences will find your work. Making scholarship available through different formats and platforms can also increase its discoverability. Clearly indicating reusable content and making it easier to cite also improves the likelihood that your work will help foster new scholarship.

Duke Libraries can help you with:

  • Creating unambiguous identifiers, such as DOIs and ORCIDs (for citing and tracking works and crediting and rewarding contributors)
  • Ensuring that your work can be easily cited
  • Understanding how Duke’s Open Access Policy applies to your work
  • Selecting a license for your scholarly work (to ensure use, maintain integrity, and appropriately credit contributors)
  • Maximizing the findability of your work (e.g., with metadata and search-engine optimization)
  • Submitting your work for indexing in relevant databases
  • Improving accessibility for different audiences (e.g., ADA web accessibility)
  • Making a previously published work available in a new platform (e.g., an institutional repository like DukeSpace via Elements and your Scholars@Duke profile)

Sustain a digital publication

External and internal grants can help support a publication’s maintenance. But sustaining digital scholarship requires more than just funding. Building this into the early planning phases of a project can help you identify the broader community of stakeholders who can keep your publication going, from creating and reviewing new content to sharing the costs of hosting and updating the infrastructure. Thoughtfully considering how a project will be transitioned or preserved can help ensure the scholarly work will continue to have an impact.

Duke Libraries can help you with:

  • Developing financial models for building ongoing support
  • Scoping a preservation and sustainability plan
  • Writing grant proposals and applying for funding opportunities
  • Securing long-term institutional support