New Opportunities to Make Your Publications Open Access

Cambridge Open Access

Guest post by Paolo Mangiafico, Scholarly Communications Strategist and Co-Director, ScholarWorks Center for Scholarly Publishing; Haley Walton, Librarian for Education and Open Scholarship; and Elena Feinstein, Head of Collection Strategy and Development


In keeping with our long-held goal of putting knowledge in service to society, Duke University has been an early and strong proponent of open access publishing. So many scholarly journals and books remain behind subscription paywalls—while members of the Duke community can get access to many of them through Duke Libraries, researchers at less privileged institutions or in other countries, independent researchers, policymakers, and the general public often can’t. This is where open access comes in—through a variety of funding and publishing models, researchers can increasingly make their publications and data and other research outputs freely available to anyone to read and use, resulting in increased reach and impact for Duke research, and benefits to the world at large.

Duke’s Academic Council adopted an open access policy in 2010, making it possible for Duke faculty to share their own scholarly articles via an open access repository supported by Duke Libraries, and link them from their Scholars@Duke profiles and lab, department, school, and institute web sites. This is sometimes known as “green open access”—referring to authors making their own articles available via preprint servers or other other repositories, in addition to publishing them in a traditional journal. Some journals also make it possible for publications to be made open access directly from the journal—known as “gold open access”—either by publishing the journal through volunteer labor of scholars themselves, or by institutions and foundations sponsoring the journal’s publishing costs, or by publishers charging authors an article processing charge (APC) when their article is accepted for publication. Duke has provided support for all of these models over the years, encouraging more researchers and more journals to make their work openly available, and providing financial and in-kind support to help do so.


“Duke Libraries have recently entered into a new agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP) that will both provide subscription access to Cambridge journals for the Duke community as well as cover open access article fees for Duke authors publishing in CUP journals.”


Starting in January, a new opportunity to publish open access became available to Duke authors. Duke Libraries have recently entered into a new agreement with Cambridge University Press (CUP) that will both provide subscription access to Cambridge journals for the Duke community as well as cover open access article fees for Duke authors publishing in CUP journals. This program applies to all 380 journals that Cambridge University Press publishes as either fully open access or hybrid (the journal itself is subscription access, but individual articles may be made open access)—you can find the full list of applicable journals here. If you submitted your article to one of these journals after January 1, 2022, and the corresponding author has a Duke email address, CUP will waive open access fees. CUP open access fees average $3,945 per article, so this agreement will result in a significant savings for Duke authors, help make more Duke research openly available to anyone to read, and increase the potential readership and impact for Duke researchers. The program includes authors affiliated with Duke University (including the professional schools), School of Medicine, and Duke Kunshan University, but not Duke University Health System.

These kinds of arrangements are called “transformative agreements” because they aim to begin the shift from institutions paying for limited access subscriptions toward paying for open access publishing, with the ultimate result of a transformed scholarly publishing landscape, with neither readers nor authors having to pay for publishing or access. These kinds of programs are a welcome transition away from a purely subscription landscape toward greater access, but they have the potential to further establish a different kind of inequity by privileging authors who are at institutions like Duke that can afford to enter in this kind of arrangement, and privileging large publishers who can afford to experiment with new funding models and make large-scale deals.

As a key player in the shifting scholarly publishing landscape, Duke Libraries will continue to experiment with a variety of models, and monitor the costs and benefits to the Duke community and effects on the broader research community, aiming to keep moving toward models that promote greater access and equity, and that align with our institution’s values.


“So at the end of this fiscal year… the COPE fund will wind down as we pivot to new models like the Cambridge program… and others that build partnerships between publishers and libraries to collectively fund journals and books so neither authors nor readers need to cover the costs.”


One experiment we began more than a decade ago is now winding down, as the landscape has changed significantly over those years. In 2010 Duke became a signatory to the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE), a program that aimed to remove disincentives for researchers to publish in open access journals, by helping cover some of the article processing charges (APCs) open access journals were starting to charge to cover their costs. With financial support from the Provost, Duke Libraries, the School of Medicine, and School of Nursing, a fund was established to cover some open access fees for Duke authors. Over the years this program has funded open access publication of nearly 500 articles, supporting 470 Duke authors, including faculty, graduate students, postdocs and even undergraduates. The journal publishing landscape has changed over the time this program was active—APC-funded publishing is now well-established, sponsors of funded research now generally allow inclusion of these costs in grant budgets, and new models have emerged that can provide broader benefit a lower cost. So at the end of this fiscal year (in June) the COPE fund will wind down as we pivot to new models like the Cambridge program described above (which provide benefit to all Duke authors, not just those who applied for and were awarded reimbursement from COPE) and others that build partnerships between publishers and libraries to collectively fund journals and books so neither authors nor readers need to cover the costs. Duke University Press is establishing itself as a leader in this area with the innovative model it has established for the Demography journal. UNC Press, MIT Press, the University of Michigan Press, and many others are also building sustainable open access funding models, and Duke is partnering with them to help build more open access for Duke researchers and readers everywhere.

To learn more about other programs supported by Duke Libraries to help increase open access to Duke research and promote a more equitable scholarly publishing ecosystem more broadly, and how you can use them when you publish, see this page, talk with your librarian, or email open-access@duke.edu.

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