Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship

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On 7 November 2008, the directors of the law libraries at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Texas, and Yale University met in Durham, North Carolina at the Duke Law School. That meeting resulted in the "Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship," which calls for all law schools to stop publishing their journals in print format and to rely instead on electronic publication coupled with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats.

the authors of the Durham Statement

The authors of the Durham Statement (source). Top row, left to right: Dick Danner (Duke), Radu Popa (NYU), John Palfrey (Harvard), Claire Germain (Cornell), Paul George (University of Pennsylvania), Jim McMasters (Northwestern), Blair Kauffman (Yale). Bottow row: Paul Lomio (Stanford), Judith Wright (University of Chicago), Terry Martin (University of Texas).

Particularly now, with growing financial pressures on law school budgets, ending print publication of law journals deserves serious consideration. Very few law journals receive enough in subscription income and royalties to cover their costs of operation. The Statement anticipates both that the costs for printing and mailing can be eliminated, and that law libraries can reduce their costs for subscribing to, processing, and preserving print journals. There are additional benefits in improving access to journals that are not now published in open access formats and in reducing paper consumption.

Each of the directors who signed the Statement agreed to take it to the dean of their school for discussion and signature. It has also been signed by the chief information officers at top U.S. law schools. The Statement is being posted and publicized in hopes that more signatures can be gathered and that all law schools will begin to moving toward accomplishing its goals.

We hope that you too will agree that this is a worthwhile endeavor, and will sign the Statement, help us gain more support for it, and work to effect its goals.

For further information, please read our answers to these Frequently Asked Questions or contact:

     Richard Danner
     Rufty Resesarch Professor of Law
     Senior Associate Dean for Information Services
     Duke Law School



February 11, 2009

Objective: The undersigned believe that it will benefit legal education and improve the dissemination of legal scholarly information if law schools commit to making the legal scholarship they publish available in stable, open, digital formats in place of print. To accomplish this end, law schools should commit to making agreed-upon stable, open, digital formats, rather than print, the preferable formats for legal scholarship. If stable, open, digital formats are available, law schools should stop publishing law journals in print and law libraries should stop acquiring print law journals. We believe that, in addition to their other benefits, these changes are particularly timely in light of the financial challenges currently facing many law schools.

Rationale: Researchers – whether students, faculty, or practitioners – now access legal information of all sorts through digital formats much more frequently than in printed formats. Print copies of law journals and other forms of legal scholarship are slower to arrive than the online digital versions and lack the flexibility needed by 21st century scholars. Yet, most law libraries perceive a continuing need also to acquire legal scholarship in print formats for citation and archiving. (Some libraries are canceling print editions if commercial digital versions are available; others continue to acquire print copies but throw them away after a period of time.)

It is increasingly uneconomical to keep two systems afloat simultaneously. The presumption of need for redundant printed journals adds costs to library budgets, takes up physical space in libraries pressed for space, and has a deleterious effect on the environment; if articles are uniformly available in stable digital formats, they can still be printed on demand. Some libraries may still choose to subscribe to certain journals in multiple formats if they are available. In general, however, we believe that, if law schools are willing to commit to stable and open digital storage for the journals they publish, there are no longer good reasons for individual libraries to rely on paper copies as the archival format. Agreed-upon stable, open, digital formats will ensure that legal scholarship will be preserved in the long-term.

In a time of extreme pressures on law school budgets, moving to all electronic publication of law journals will also eliminate the substantial costs borne by law schools for printing and mailing print editions of their school’s journals, and the costs borne by their libraries to purchase, process and preserve print versions.

Additionally, and potentially most importantly, a move toward digital files as the preferred format for legal scholarship will increase access to legal information and knowledge not only to those inside the legal academy and in practice, but to scholars in other disciplines and to international audiences, many of whom do not now have access either to print journals or to commercial databases.

Call to Action: We therefore urge every U.S. law school to commit to ending print publication of its journals and to making definitive versions of journals and other scholarship produced at the school immediately available upon publication in stable, open, digital formats, rather than in print.

We also urge every law school to commit to keeping a repository of the scholarship published at the school in a stable, open, digital format. Some law schools may choose to use a shared regional online repository or to offer their own repositories as places for other law schools to archive the scholarship published at their school.

Repositories should rely upon open standards for the archiving of works, as well as on redundant formats, such as PDF copies. We also urge law schools and law libraries to agree to and use a standard set of metadata to catalog each article to ensure easy online public indexing of legal scholarship.

As a measure of redundancy, we also urge faculty members to reserve their copyrights to ensure that they too can make their own scholarship available in stable, open, digital formats. All law journals should rely upon the AALS model publishing agreement as a default and should respect author requests to retain copyrights in their scholarship.



Richard A. Danner
Duke Law School
Taylor Fitchett
University of Virginia Law School
Margaret A. Fry
Georgetown University Law Center
Paul M. George
University of Pennsylvania School of Law
Claire M. Germain
Cornell Law School
S. Blair Kauffman
Yale Law School
J. Paul Lomio
Stanford Law School
Harry S. (Terry) Martin III
University of Texas Law School
Kent McKeever
Columbia Law School
Jim McMasters
Northwestern University School of Law
John G. Palfrey
Harvard Law School
Radu Popa
New York University Law School
Judith M. Wright
University of Chicago Law School
Pablo Molina
Georgetown University Law Center
Patricia I. Donnelly
UC Berkeley School of Law
Michael Harvey
University of Texas School of Law
Wayne Miller
Duke Law School
Lois Remeikis
Northwestern University School of Law
Glen-Peter Ahlers
Barry University School of Law
Kenneth J. Hirsh
University of Cincinnati Law School
Robert J. Nissenbaum
Fordham University School of Law
Todd Melnick
Fordham University School of Law
James D. Cox
Duke Law School
Michael E. Tigar
Duke Law School
Timothy L. Coggins
University of Richmond School of Law
Kathleen M. Carrick
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Christopher Knott
University of Maine School of Law
Keith Ann Stiverson
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Filippa Marullo Anzalone
Boston College Law School
Mark D. Engsberg
Emory University School of Law
Thomas B. Metzloff
Duke Law School
Michael Chiorazzi
University of Arizona Rogers College of Law
James S. Heller
College of William & Mary School of Law
Mark P. Bernstein
Saint Louis University Law School
Steven D. Hinckley
Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Kevin Gerson
UCLA School of Law
Kathleen Vanden Heuvel
Boalt Hall, University of California School of Law
Faye Jones
Florida State University College of Law
Steven M. Barkan
University of Wisconsin Law School
Meg Kribble
Harvard Law School Library
John B. Nann
Yale Law Library
Kim Dulin
Harvard Law School
Raizel Liebler
John Marshall Law School, Chicago
Michelle Pearse
Harvard Law School Library
Joan S. Howland
University of Minnesota Law Library
Tom Boone
Loyola Law School
Eric M. Fink
Elon University School of Law
Susanna Leers
Barco Law Library, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Eli Edwards
Santa Clara University School of Law
Dan Hunter
New York Law School
Luis Villa
Columbia Science and Technology Law Review Vol. X Editor-in-Chief
Suzie Shatarevyan
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
Sara Burriesci
Georgetown University Law Library
Denise Grey
Harvard Law School
Anthony Lux
Harvard Law School
Roger V. Skalbeck
Georgetown University Law Center
Simon Canick
William Mitchell College of Law
Richard F. Breen
Willamette College of Law Library
Caroline L. Osborne
Washington and Lee University School of Law
Robert Truman
Lewis & Clark Law School
Tracy L. Thompson-Przylucki
Marguerite Most
Duke Law School
David Holt
Santa Clara University
Jeff Dunn
Harvard Law School
Fang Wang
Texas Tech University Law Library
David C. Walker
Duncan School of Law, Lincoln Memorial University
Benjamin J. Keele
College of William & Mary School of Law
John Kehayays
Mihai Soare
Law Office Mihai Soare
Ric Simmons
Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University
Ulysses N. Jaen
Centro de Justicia
Christine Ross
University of Florida
Roger Blackwell
Joseph Hanlon
Taft Law School
Richard Leiter *
University of Nebraska College of Law

Last updated

February 1, 2012