Friday, October 16, 2009

Celebrating Open Access Week

Last year, the Goodson Law Library celebrated Open Access Day, the first-ever international celebration of the Open Access (OA) movement, which encourages the use of the Internet to freely distribute scholarship which is normally locked behind online subscription databases or published in costly print resources. Although the Open Access movement is rooted in the hard sciences, as a reaction to publicly-funded scientific research results being published in prohibitively expensive journals, the principles of Open Access have spread to other disciplines, including the social sciences.

This year, the success of 2008’s Open Access Day has resulted in 2009’s Open Access Week (October 19-23). Duke University will celebrate with several events, including a panel on Friday, October 23 about open access to health information around the world. For a complete listing of Duke events, see Open Access Week at Duke. For a fuller listing of events beyond Duke, check out

The Duke Law School has long been a leader in the Open Access movement for legal scholarship. The full text of Duke Law journals is provided free on our website back to 1997, and our Faculty Scholarship Repository provides a permanent online archive of Law School faculty publications. In November 2008, a meeting of prominent law library directors at the Goodson Law Library resulted in the development of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, which urges law schools to cease print publication of law reviews in favor of free, permanent, online publication archives. Learn more about these efforts during Open Access Week at the library’s service desk.

It seems that even traditional content providers may have caught Open Access fever. SAGE Journals Online, a major database for scientific and social science journals, is providing free access (with registration) to all of its journals from 1999-present during the entire month of October. Although the Duke University Libraries already have electronic access to most, if not all, of the available journals, this is a welcome gesture for members of the public and alumni who previously could only access Duke’s subscriptions by visiting the library in person. To research other journals which have long adhered to the Open Access principle (and will not re-lock in November), visit the Directory of Open Access Journals.