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Getting Published

tips and resources for navigating the process of academic publishing

Introduction

When your article is reviewed and accepted for publication, you will be asked to sign a standard agreement that often transfers most, or all of your rights to the publisher. This means that you are no longer the copyright holder for your work and, depending on your contract with the publisher, your attempts to share your own work with colleagues and students, in print or electronic formats, may be infringing.

You as the author have the following rights unless and until you transfer the copyright in a signed agreement:

  • The exclusive rights of reproduction
  • Distribution
  • Public performance
  • Public display
  • Modification of the original work.

Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That's why it is important to retain the rights you need. Transferring copyright doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others.

Most faculty are most interested in maintaining the right to use and develop their own work without restriction, including using it for teaching and derivative research, receive proper attribution, and the abillity to archive their work.

Publishers are mostly interested in obtaining a non-exclusive right to publish and distribute a work and receive a financial return, receive proper attribution and citation as the place of first publication and the abillity to migrate the work to future formats and include it in collections.

For more information about how you can retain your rights, visit the "What can I do?" tab.

Why License Your Work

If you own the copyright to your work, you can choose to apply a license to your work. Applying a license gives potential users permission in advance for how they can use your work, and removes fear, uncertainty, and doubt. For example:

  1. Applying a license indicates that you are the copyright owner, so users always know who to credit through citation and attribution.
  2. Most licenses allow you to choose which uses are allowed without your express permission - such as making copies, sharing, making derivative works - and whether commercial uses are allowed.
  3. Licenses make it easier for people to know how they can use your work without having to ask permission or do a fair use evaluation.

Licenses can make your work more discoverable to unanticipated readers, and encourage innovative uses - such as teaching, text and data mining, and meta-analysis.

Here is some information about different types of licenses for different types of work.

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