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UMKC University Libraries

Publishing and Being Cited Guide

Know Your Rights

Under U.S. copyright law, as soon as a work is fixed in a tangible form, you as the author immediately have certain exclusive copyrights:

  • The right to reproduce copies of your work in any format;
  • The right to prepare derivative works, or adaptations of your work, including translations, revised editions, etc.;
  • The right to distribute new copies of your work;
  • The right to display your work publicly.

When your paper is accepted for publication, many publishers will ask you to sign a standard publishing agreement which transfers all copyrights in the work to the publisher.  That may not be necessary, nor to your advantage.

Controlling Your Copyright

If you decide to keep your copyright:
1.  Register it.  While you do not need to register your copyright in order to maintain your rights, registering your copyright can be useful.  It allows you to claim damages in case your rights are infringed, and it lets people know where the copyright resides if they wish to ask permission to make use of your work.

2.  Consider including a statement that pre-approves certain uses of your work.  Creative Commons provides a suite of standard licenses which allow you to automatically grant certain permissions for the reuse of your work.  A guide to Creative Commons is available on the Library's web site.

Considerations Before Publishing

Before agreeing to publish:

1.  Consider your goals for your work.  If you sign away your rights, you may find you can't do the following without the publisher's permission.

  • Post your work to your own web site, an institutional repository (MOspace, for example), or a discipline-based repository;
  • Use your work as the basis for future articles or other works;
  • Copy your work for distribution to your students;
  • Use your work in your own online class;
  • Grant permission to faculty and students at your own or other universities to use the material.

2.  When you receive the publisher's agreement, read it carefully.

3.  Consider whether your rights as an author are supported in the agreement.  If you don't like what you see, you can often negotiate more favorable terms.  In fact, many publishers, including the largest commercial publishers, have already created other standard agreements allowing for more favorable terms than the initial default agreement.  You just have to ask for them.

  • The SHERPA/RoMEO site includes an extensive database of publisher's policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.
  • The SPARC web site includes a generic authors' addendum which reserves copyrights to the author.
  • The Science Commons web site maintains a "Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine," a tool which allows you to generate a customized statement to append to a publishing agreement.
  • The Library can help!  Contact Brenda Dingley, ext. 2226, dingleyb@umkc.edu.

 

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