Available Data

New policy will make Duke research more accessible

Duke faculty members voted unanimously in March to create an open-access digital archive of their scholarly articles, a move intended to make research readily available to the public and to streamline the way it is archived at the university.

Plans call for a Web-based repository of scholarly research that will be hosted by Duke and that will be available outside the traditional—and for independent researchers and universities in the developing world, expensive—journal-subscription model. While faculty members will continue to publish their work in journals, the new policy calls for the university to retain a limited license to make articles available to the general public.

While Duke is not the first university to implement a policy like this, officials say that they are aiming to deviate from other, similar policies by making their repository even easier for faculty members and outside researchers to use. At other universities with open-access archives, faculty members are responsible for uploading their work into computer systems; Duke librarians plan to streamline the process, incorporating it with faculty members' annual departmental reports on their publication activity.

Scholarly journals are, for the most part, supportive of the effort. Increased exposure helps both researchers and their publishers by exposing more people to the work and increasing interest among and citation by other researchers. And if Congress passes the Federal Research Public Access Act, which will require that articles resulting from some federally funded research be made publicly available, Duke will be ahead of the curve.

An initial version of the new open-access repository system is scheduled to go online this fall.

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