Where to Publish Scholarly Journal Articles: Author Rights

Information on publishing in a scholarly journal.

Copyright

How to Self-Archive

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Image source: Open Science Collaboration.

Your Rights as an Author

When you publish a journal article, you'll be asked to sign a publication agreement, also called an author agreement or copyright transfer agreement.   These agreements typically consist of copyrights, other rights, royalty terms and preferred citational style. 

Author agreements usually transfer copyright to the publisher, limiting your rights to use your work in the future.

Before signing, consider whether the author agreement will permit you to use your work in particular ways in the future. It should, for instance, permit you to do the following:

  • Post a version (pre-print, post-print, or final published version) of your work in an institutional repository, a subject archive (arXiv), your personal website, and/or a social network (ResearchGate);
  • Use your work in teaching, conference presentations, etc.;
  • Use your work in future publications.

To preserve your rights consider the use of an addendum, which is a simple legal tool that amends the publisher's author agreement. 

A good example of an addendum: SPARC Author Addendum (PDF). Using this addendum will allow you to maintain reasonable copyright rights.
 

For additional information, see also Author Rights (PDF).

Image sources:  Copyright. Wikipedia.  Public domain.  SPARC Author Addendum.  CC BY 4.0.

This is Not Legal Advice

The information presented here is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.  We are (thankfully) librarians, not lawyers. 

Image source: pxhere. CC0.