Your publication rights as an author: How widely can you distribute your research?

Your publication rights as an author: How widely can you distribute your research?

Congratulations! Your article has been accepted for publication in a journal and, like your colleagues, you want it to have the widest possible distribution and impact in the scholarly community. Fortunately you have a range of options including online archiving. However the publication / author / copyright transfer agreement you are likely to encounter may actually prevent broad distribution of your work.

Obviously you would never knowingly keep your research from a readership that could benefit from it, but signing a restrictive publication agreement limits your scholarly reach and lessens your impact as an author. Unfortunately we operate in an environment in which a significant percentage of scholarly content is controlled by commercial publishers whose role in scholarly communication is not only to maintain ‘the scholarly record’ but also to generate profits at the expense of institutional library budgets by selling their intellectual property back to us.

How to protect your author rights:

1. Ensure that you read and understand the terms –especially any restrictions– contained within any agreement that a publisher may ask you to sign. Ask for clarification if unclear.

2. Publishing agreements are negotiable. Publishers require only your permission to publish an article / book / book chapter, not a wholesale transfer of copyright. Retain rights to make use of the work in ways that serve yourneeds and that promote education and research activities.

3. Negotiate for the right to self-archive a copy in an institutional repository, i.e. Griffith Research Online (GRO), if not already covered in the agreement.

4. Consult the University’s website on Open Access, which contains additional information on how to maximise open access to your work.

If you are not yet familiar with the benefits of uploading a version of your publication in GRO, I would encourage you to contact your Discipline Librarian.

Dr Joanna Richardson
Library Strategy Advisor

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