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Academic Publishing

An introduction to the adaptations in the academic publishing model, including open access publishing and archiving, authors rights, and tools and strategies for measuring the impact of research.

Introduction to Author's Rights from Micah Vandegrift
Created by Micah Vandegrift outlining the basics of copyright in regards to faculty journal articles. 

Publishers often make distinctions between three primary versions of a manuscript when detailing the archive or deposit rights retained by authors: the pre-print, the post-print and the publishers version.

Pre-print – A pre-print is the original version of the manuscript as it is submitted to a journal. While the authors may have sought help from their colleagues in selecting data analysis techniques, improving manuscript clarity, and correcting grammar, the pre-print has not been through a process of peer review. It typically looks like a term paper – a double spaced .doc file with minimal formatting.

Post-print – A post-print is a document that has been through the peer review process and incorporated reviewers comments. It is the final version of the paper before it is sent off the the journal for publication. It may be missing a final copyedit (if the journal still does that) and won’t be formatted to look like the journal. It still looks like the double spaced .doc file. Sometimes, the term “pre-print” is used interchangeably with “post-print,” but when it comes to permissions issues, it is important to clarify which version of a manuscript is being discussed.

Publishers version – This is the version of record that is published on the publishers website. It will look quite spiffy, having been professionally typeset by the publisher. Library databases will link to this version of the paper.

Generally speaking, publishers are more likely to be okay with authors posting copies of pre-print versus other manuscript versions. But each journal is different, and authors need to be aware of what they can do. The copyright transfer agreement is the best place to find this information.

Source: "Understanding your rights: pre-prints, post-prints and publisher versions" by Scientific American


(Please click on the image above to view full-size.)

Developing an understanding of basic rights to your work is essential to the wide dissemination and impact of academic research.

Simply:

  • The author of a work owns full copyright to that work from the moment of creation.
  • Copyright is a bundle of rights that can be transferred in whole or in part.
  • Retaining some rights in that bundle is in the best interest of the author.

Traditionally, academic journal publishers have required the transfer of all rights as a condition to publish an article. The publisher then becomes the exclusive owner of the article, which they then sell back to scholars through journal subscriptions that the University Library pays for. Retaining copyrights at the beginning of this process will begin to allow easier and more fluid forms of sharing scholarship. 

Agreeing to publish in a journal doesn't have to be an all or nothing contract, and there are several means of negotiating ownership that faculty at many institutions are beginning to utilize. After consultation with a librarian or intellectual property expert, attaching an approved "copyright addendum" to your publication contract offers the publisher the rights you are willing to offer them while retaining your ownership and greater utility for sharing your work. 

Image source: Technology Enhanced Learning Blog

A copyright is actually a bundle of rights. Traditionally all of them have been transferred to the publisher as a requirement for publication, but it doesn't have to be this way. There are a number of other options available to you.

Option 1: The author retains all rights and licenses publication

The ideal solution from the author's perspective would be to retain the copyright and all associated rights in their work while licensing to publishers only the rights the publisher needs to conduct its business. You get to determine who can use your scholarship.

You can, for example, grant the publisher an exclusive license for the first formal publication of the work (in print, digital ,or some other form). In addition, you might want to grant the publisher non-exclusive rights to authorize (or accomplish themselves) the following:

 

• Subsequent republication of the work
• Reformatting of the publication (from print to microfilm or digital formats, for example)
• Distribution via document delivery services or in course packs

The key issue with Option 1 is determining what are the minimum bundle of rights that the publisher needs in order to protect its investment in the publication. This will vary from publisher to publisher.

Source: Cornell University Libraries, published under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 U.S. License

A copyright is actually a bundle of rights. Traditionally all of them have been transferred to the publisher as a requirement for publication, but it doesn't have to be this way. There are a number of other options available to you:

Option 2: Author transfers his/her copyright, but retains some specified rights.

You can assign your copyright to the publisher, but at the same time reserve some specific rights for yourself. Rights you might want to retain include:

  • The right to make reproductions for use in teaching, scholarship, and research
  • The right to borrow portions of the work for use in other works
  • The right to make derivative works
  • The right to alter the work, add to the work, or update the content of the work
  • The right to be identified as the author of the work
  • The right to be informed of any uses, reproductions, or distributions of the work
  • The right to perform or display the work
  • The right to include all or part of this material in the your thesis or dissertation
  • The right to make oral presentation of the material in any forum
  • The right to authorize making materials available to underdeveloped nations for humanitarian purposes
  • The right to archive and preserve the work as part of either a personal or institutional initiative, e.g. On your web site or in an institutional repository.
  • The copyright in every draft and pre-print version of the work.

The weakness of Option 2 is that it is often difficult to anticipate in advance everything that an author may wish to do with a work, especially over time and with changes in information technology.

The Scholars Copyright Addendum Engine can generate an addendum that can be attached to a publishing contract. The addendum reserves to the author the rights that are of greatest importance.

Source: Cornell University Libraries, published under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 U.S. License

A copyright is actually a bundle of rights. Traditionally all of them have been transferred to the publisher as a requirement for publication, but it doesn't have to be this way. There are a number of other options available to you:

Option 3: Authors can transfer all copyrights to the publisher.

Option 3 is the traditional solution, but is the least desirable from the author's perspective.

Source: Cornell University Libraries, published under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 U.S. License

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SHERPA/RoMEO collects information about publisher policies related to online sharing (“archiving”) of works published in most journals.

Journals and publishers are classified according to a color scheme that relate to the archive rights that authors retain. Authors are encouraged to research the policies of journals they have published in or are considering submitting a manuscript to in order to ascertain what rights in that work they will retain. Authors who wish to publish a copy of their articles will want to look for journals classified as green or blue, then check on any additional restrictions.

 

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