As scholarly authors, the environment for publishing your work is growing increasingly complex. Scholarly journals are proliferating, shrinking library buying power has reducing the market for academic monographs and the Internet has created a tangle of new options for disseminating your work. It is more important than ever to manage your copyright in your own work in ways that serve your interests and those of the scholarly community.
For basic information on managing the copyright in your scholarly work, start with these Frequently Asked Questions.
For more detailed information, SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, has created this Authors Rights resource.
There is a great deal of discussion in academia recently about open access publishing. Open access can mean several different things, however, ranging from entirely free Internet-based journals to traditional journal publishers who offer a web access option for which authors pay a fee. It is important to note that many open access options incorporate traditional peer-review, and that open access has been shown to increase article citation rates. One place to learn more is on this FAQ for authors, compiled by the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Several university faculties have endorsed resolutions calling for changes in the complex system of scholarly publishing and for more open access to scholarly research. To learn more about these initiatives, look at Columbia University Senate’s Resolution and the University of California Faculty Senate’s discussion of faculty copyright management.
One important resource as you consider publishing your work is the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers principles of scholarly-friendly journal publishing practices, which can provide a benchmark against which to measure your publication agreements.
Duke University Press uses a publication agreement that can serve as a model for faculty authors; it is simple, readable, and permits authors to retain an “unrestricted right” to make non-commercial uses of their own work. See a copy of this agreement here: Duke Univesity Press journal publication agreement. It is also worth noting that Duke University Press will accept an exclusive right of first publication in situations where an author does not want to assign his or her copyright to the publisher. These arrangements are an excellent example of what authors should seek when publishing scholarly work.
For more information about managing your copyright and to discuss publication agreements or publishing options, please contact the Scholarly Communications Office.