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Indermit Gill, a Duke economics professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, is a prolific research blogger. He often posts about his work on the Brookings Institution development blog, but Gill found it difficult to direct other researchers to his works-in-progress, which were not yet published in a formal journal.

He connected with Giovanni Zanalda, the director of Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS), and the two decided to create a working paper series for global research at Duke.

“By sharing a preview of the work online, it’s a good way to join in on a conversation, get feedback and connect with readers,” Gill says.

In May 2019, the Duke Global Working Paper Series launched. Since then, 14 individuals or teams of researchers at the university have published papers through the series on a range of issues in economics and global health. And that’s just a start, says Zanalda.

“We want to go beyond the silos of disciplines and connect groups at Duke that conduct work with an international component or explore global themes,” Zanalda says.

The papers are published on a rolling basis, and the series is edited by Zanalda and Catherine Angst, communications manager at DUCIGS.

Once published, the papers are shared through the Social Science Research Network, an online, searchable library of nearly 900,000 publications to-date. Readers can subscribe to the Duke series and receive notifications when new papers are posted.

“It has given our working papers much greater visibility,” says Gavin Yamey, director of the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute. “We’ve found that posting them on SSRN gives the papers an additional ‘imprimatur’ and helps us reach a wider audience.”

The service is open to all Duke researchers and affiliated scholars, including invited speakers.

When workshops are hosted at Duke, for example, presenters can publish the underlying research of their presentation in a working paper. This was the case for the “Realism, Liberal Internationalism, History: Conceiving a New Research Agenda” conference held on campus in February 2019, which resulted in four papers for the series.

After working papers are posted online, authors generally submit the publication to a journal. But it can help to have the paper publicly available earlier, particularly with research that takes place over a long period of time, says Jennifer Orgill Meyer, who earned her Ph.D. in environmental economics and policy from Duke in 2017. She is now an assistant professor of government and public health at Franklin and Marshall College.

Through the working paper series, Meyer published some of her doctoral research that examined how improved sanitation in neighborhoods in India could also show a positive effect on cognition of children who grow up in those neighborhoods. The research measures analytic ability through tests taken over the years as the children grow up.

“This type of long-term research isn’t seen in social sciences research that often,” Meyer says. “And there’s a lot of pressure to publish quickly. It helps to have the working paper out there.”

For more information about the Duke Global Working Paper Series, email Giovanni Zanalda (

For the style guide and submission form visit:

Originally published by Amanda Solliday on Duke Today.