Your article has been accepted for publication in a journal and, like your colleagues, you want it to have the widest possible distribution and impact in the scholarly community. In the past, this required print publication. Today you have other options, like online archiving, but the publication agreement you’ll likely encounter will actually prevent broad distribution of your work.
You would never knowingly keep your research from a readership that could benefit from it, but signing a restrictive publication agreement limits your scholarly universe and lessens your impact as an author.
Why? According to the traditional publication agreement, all rights —including copyright — go to the journal. You probably want to include sections of your article in later works. You might want to give copies to your class or distribute it among colleagues. And you likely want to place it on your Web page or in an online repository if you had the choice. These are all ways to give your research wide exposure and fulfill your goals as a scholar, but they are inhibited by the traditional agreement. If you sign on the publisher’s dotted line, is there any way to retain these critical rights?
Yes. The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. Learn more.
This open access message has been brought to you by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
Celebrating Open Access Week: Don’t Sign Away Your Rights!
Traditional publishers’ agreements often transfer copyright from the author to the publisher, giving them the right to reproduce and redistribute your work.
The most important thing you can do is read your copyright transfer agreement. Don’t like what it says? You can amend the agreements to retain the rights you need to make copies of your work and to share it with others.
Examine your publishers’ agreements
What is the publisher requiring of you? Those agreements that require you to transfer all your rights limit what you can do with your own work—that is, you are no longer the copyright holder.
If your publisher agreement reads something like: “the undersigned authors transfer ownership of copyright, including the right to publish and distribute the work by any means, method, or process whether now known or to be development in the future, to the Publisher,” consider amending the agreement.
Agreements that let you retain control of your work often have phrases like: “I grant the journal a non-exclusive license to publish my work”; “I understand that no rights are transferred to the Journal”; or “I understand that a Creative Commons license will be applied to my work.”
Modify your agreements when needed
Publishing agreements are negotiable. Know your rights and consider using the SPARC author addendum to modify your agreement.
Deposit your work in MOspace
If you’ve retained the right to post to an online archive, submit your work to the MOspace Institutional Repository. An institutional repository, like MOspace, is one of the best ways to disseminate and preserve your work. As an Open Access tool, MOspace ensures that current and future generations of scholars benefit by finding your work.
More information on retaining your rights.