Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship

The Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship is a public statement related to ensuring the open access of legal information and scholarship. It was written in 2008 by a group of library directors from law schools in the United States.

Background and development

In 2007, Richard Danner presented two different papers arguing that John Willinsky's open access principles were also applicable to legal scholarship and information. He also presented information on the work Duke University School of Law had done to improve electronic access to journals and faculty scholarship.[1] In October 2008, Danner met with library directors from 11 other law schools at Duke's campus in Durham, North Carolina to discuss the topic. The resulting statement issued by the group called for all law schools to stop publishing their law journals in print format and to rely instead on open access electronic publication coupled with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats.[2]

An important motivation underlying this call was not only improving access, but also that "very few law journals receive enough in subscription income and royalties to cover their costs of operation."[2]

Response and legacy

In a discussion of the Durham Statement published two years after it was issued, Danner noted that "[the] call to end print publication of law reviews was more controversial than that regarding open access."[3]:45 Law librarians have raised questions about the ability to effectively digitally preserve materials and whether the "stable, open, digital formats" the statement suggests are more of an ideal than an attainable goal.[4]


  1. ^ Danner, Richard A. (2008). "Applying the Access Principle in Law: The Responsibilities of the Legal Scholar".
  2. ^ a b "Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship | Berkman Center".
  3. ^ Danner, Richard A.; Leong, Kelly; Miller, Wayne (2011). "The Durham Statement Two Years Later: Open Access in the Law School Journal Environment". Law Library Journal. 103 (1).
  4. ^ Rhodes, Sarah. "Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials...Where To Start?". Cornell University Law School.
Richard Danner

Richard A. Danner is the Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty Research Professor of Law Emeritus at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina. He held the position of Senior Associate Dean for Information Services and served in various capacities at Duke, starting in 1979, and was appointed Director of the Duke University Law Library in 1981. Prior to working at Duke, Richard Danner served as a law librarian at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he received degrees in law and library science.

Danner has served as the American Association of Law Libraries president, is a member of the American Bar Association, has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and as the First Vice President of the International Association of Law Libraries.

Danner is co-author, with John Palfrey of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship of 2008, which advocates for the open access publishing of law journals. Danner has been an outspoken supporter of open access in law.

Timeline of the open-access movement

The following is a timeline of the international movement for open access to scholarly communication.

Projects +

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