Document Type


Publication Date



Open access, Law reviews


February 11, 2009 marked the official signing and release of the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship, which aims to improve the dissemination of legal scholarly information through formal commitments to open access and electronic publication. Thirteen academic law library directors drafted and shaped the original Durham Statement, a process that began in November 2008 during the dedication of Duke Law School’s J. Michael Goodson Law Library.

The original Durham Statement (reproduced in Appendix A of this report) called upon U.S. law schools to cease 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 Durham Statement’s vision included academic law libraries stopping the collection of print journals in favor of electronic formats, and encouraging the setup of open access scholarship repositories for both journal publications and faculty scholarship. The drafters cited the economic concerns of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 as the primary rationale for these recommendations, noting that maintaining access in both print and electronic full-text formats was “increasingly uneconomical.”

Since the signing of the original Durham Statement, continued changes in both the legal publishing market and the administration at signatory law libraries presented an opportunity to revisit the Durham Statement and track its progress. In February 2021, several academic law library directors from signatory law schools agreed to set up a task force to review the status of the Durham Statement in U.S. law schools. This group, comprised of volunteer members from original signatory schools, was charged to explore the current status of the Statement’s adoption, examine potential barriers to further adoption, and recommend best practices going forward, including potential revisions to the statement language. This report describes the results of the Durham Statement Review Task Force’s work.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Open access, Law reviews, Electronic journals

Included in

Law Commons