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Scholarly Publishing

A guide to publishing, from the funding & research phases to final publication!

Keep Your Copyrights!

In standard, old-school, publication agreements, all copyright (including rights of re-use and distribution) are signed over to the journal. Keep control of your work! 

As the author, you are entitled to decide the following: 

  • If the work may be copied or distributed
  • If the work may be used for educational purposes
  • If the work may be shared among colleagues
  • Where the work may be posted or published

When you sign over your copyright, you may lose the ability to control one or all of these functions. 

You do NOT have to sign away all your rights to get your article published, even in a top tier journal! Publishing agreements are negotiable. Be aware of your rights and what rights you want to keep. 

Publishers require a non-exclusive license to publish the work. All other items should be negotiable. Some strategies to consider:

  • Retain the right to reuse the work in your future publications
  • Retain the right to grant permission for use in education
  • Use an embargo (may be as little as 3 months) to provide a short exclusive time for the journal to hold the item, after which you may post the post-print or final published version in an institutional repository or another archival tool
  • Use the SPARC author addendum to append to your copyright transfer agreement. 

Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy

Use tools such as SHERPA/RoMEO to determine which journals may deposit automatically. NIH recommends inserting this language into the publisher agreement for NIH PAP compliance: “Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to NIH, upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible after publication by Journal.”