Scholarly communication, the dissemination and use of knowledge, is changing due to the influences of public policy and technology. These changes affect how authors and publishers provide information and how scholars obtain information. This page provides resources that help clarify issues resulting from changes in both policy and technology.
Your Rights As An Author
Have you read your publisher copyright agreement? Before you sign, make sure you are retaining the rights you need to share and distribute your work yourself. The publisher does not need all the rights in copyright in order to publish your work. Until you assign any rights to another person or company, these are the rights included in the coyright law, Title 17 Chapter 1, Section 106 of the U.S. Code:
to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work, including translations;
to distribute copies;
to perform or display the copyrighted work publicly;
to assign or license any of these rights to others.
Scholarly Communication Issues and Resources
Questions regarding rights over your scholarly work that you might want to consider before submitting your work for publication by a commercial publisher include:
How do I want to distribute my own work?
send copies to colleagues?
post a copy on web sites that I create for teaching and research?
put in a subject archives or my school archives?
Do I want to create derivatives and retain the rights over those?
subsequent editions and other derivations?
In the current scholarly communication system you want to control how much copyright you assign to any publishers of your work. The publisher agreement should be to your benefit and should only give the publisher the right they need to publish a particular manifestation of your work. You can retain all other rights.