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Duke Latest To Sign Journal Open Access Compact

Pricey subscription journals will take another hit with news that Duke University has joined a group of kindred research institutions in signing a Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE). The goal of the compact, which came into existence a little more than a year ago, is to encourage researchers to publish their peer-reviewed work in open access scholarly journals, where the material would be freely available online. Duke is the 11th signatory to sign onto the program. COPE's initial signatories included five universities: Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, and University of California, Berkeley.

According to the Directory of Open Access Journals Web site there are currently 5,468 open access journals being produced, many by institutional and association publishers. Some charge authors an article-processing fee for reviewing, editing, producing, and distributing their work, costs that would traditionally have been covered through a journal's subscription fee. For example, the American Chemical Society charges authors between $1,500 and $3,000 to make an article freely available.

To encourage the participation of its faculty in the new program, Duke has created a special fund to help pay for article processing fees. So far that same practice has been followed by each of the signatories in COPE. The fund will be administered by Duke Libraries' Office of Scholarly Communications and is supported by the libraries and the Office of the Provost.

Duke researchers can receive a maximum of $3,000 of article processing fees in an academic year. Those articles supported by a gift or grant that covers such fees aren't eligible for the reimbursement.

"By establishing this fund, we hope to support the university's commitment to promoting openness as an important value in scholarship," said Provost Peter Lange. "Increased open access means more opportunities for the research of our faculty and researchers to reach a wide audience and have a meaningful impact on the world." He added that in March 2010 the university's Academic Council had adopted an open access policy that applies to all Duke faculty.

Kevin Smith, scholarly communications officer with Duke's University Libraries, said he hopes the university's commitment will raise awareness of the growing body of open access journals. "Several open access journals, such as those in the Public Library of Science family, have quickly grown in influence and now demonstrate high impact factors in their fields," Smith said.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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