Six Duke Law journals move to digital-only format

August 23, 2013Duke Law News

Six of Duke Law’s nine student-edited law journals are now only publishing in a digital format.    

The Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change, the Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, and the Duke Law & Technology Review will continue to publish top-quality scholarship online.   Law & Contemporary Problems, the Duke Law Journal, and the Alaska Law Review, will continue to publish in print and electronic form.

The move away from print, started when Duke became the first law school to make articles from all its journals freely available online in 1998, is in keeping with the open access principles guiding the development of the Duke Law Scholarship Repository, where scholarly works – including journal articles – by Duke Law faculty and affiliates are available online.  Full runs of all journals are now available in the repository. 

Richard Danner, the Rufty Research Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Information Services, has led the digital initiatives at Duke and more broadly in the legal academy.  He said the move to digital-only publication for the six journals is a natural next step.

“With the exception of the Alaska Law Review, which we print under contract with the Alaska Bar Association, and the Duke Law Journal and Law & Contemporary Problems, both of which have a steady subscriber base, we are now out of the print business,” he said. “Given dwindling subscribers, easy online access, and financial pressures on law schools and the legal profession, this makes sense. Law schools can save money, but most importantly, people trying to access this significant scholarship can do so easily using the tools most researchers now prefer.”

Offprints of individual articles and complete print issues continue to be available from Joe Christensen, Inc.

In addition to being full open access publications themselves, Duke's journals explicitly allow authors to repost their published articles without restriction on freely accessible third party web sites, as well as on Internet sites under their own control.

In 2008, Duke Law hosted a meeting at which 12 directors from top law libraries discussed principles promoting open access to legal scholarship across the board.  That meeting resulted in the 2009 Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, which called for law journal articles to be “available in stable, open, digital formats in place of print.”

“One thing that the Durham Statement focused on was the idea that the amount of money that the typical law library spends on publishing journals may not be that much, but it is an area that we can control to save money for libraries and save money for law schools, particularly given the fact that there is a lot of evidence that the print copies are not well read,” Danner said.

In 2010, the Law School organized and hosted a conference on Implementing the Durham Statement, which brought together student law review editors, publishers and printers, and experts on open access publishing to discuss best practices for open access law review publishing.

Learn more about Open Access at Duke Law