Author Rights

Did you know you can retain some or all of the rights associated with your journal publications, including copyright, and still publish with the journal of your choice? Rather than transfer away all of their rights to publishers, many authors are approaching publishers with an addendum to the publishing contract, modifying the copyright transfer agreement to retain certain rights to use their works in the ways that they need.

Why would you want to retain rights? To reuse, or to authorize others to reuse portions of the work in future publications without being concerned with copyright infringement. To disseminate your work to students or colleagues. To store it on your website or a course website. To deposit a version of it in ResearchCommons, the institutional repository for UT Arlington, or other open access repositories, so that researchers who are not members of institutions paying tens of thousands of dollars for access to journals can still find it, read it, and cite it–and a growing body of research indicates that making works openly available on the web increases citation counts and impact.

You can check a particular journal’s official policy on author rights retention: perhaps you already have the right to deposit your work in the institutional repository. Or, send an email to researchcommons@uta.edu and library staff will comb your publications on Mentis for you, establishing those works that your publisher will allow you to add to ResearchCommons according to the terms of your contract with them. The library will manage the process of ingesting, preserving, and making these works more accessible.

Value your copyright, and do not transfer to the publisher more than is needed to publish and distribute an article. If you want to find out more about copyright transfer agreements, open access, or other issues related to scholarly communications, contact the Libraries’ Department of Scholarly Communications at library-sc@listserv.uta.edu!


The open access button

Paywalls reported by the OA button, 11/19/13-11/26/13. Creative Commons image courtesy https://www.openaccessbutton.org

As researchers and librarians, we have certainly had the experience of running into a paywall.

We have been searching for information in the databases for ages with little luck, when we think of just the right keywords and come across an article that seems to be precisely what we have been looking for. We click on the article and read the abstract: yes, this is the one I need! But there is no PDF Full Text link. We click on the link resolver to see if it’s available in another database, and the dreaded message flashes on screen. Sorry, no online version available at UTA. Please see additional options below for finding this journal.

Or a student approaches the desk with an article in her hands, and points to the references. “I need this article.” We check our online holdings…I’m sorry, but we do not subscribe to this journal…How soon did you need it?

In any case, if the library does not own a copy of the journal in print, we must either place an interlibrary loan, physically travel to a nearby library that has access and is willing to provide guests with access, or simply do without the article.

The open access movement has been building for approximately the last decade in an attempt to erase paywalls for scholarly literature, so that it can be free to users and accessible anywhere there is an internet connection. It is about challenging the system of publication that keeps the work of researchers out of the reach of anyone outside of those willing to pay exorbitant subscription fees, and enabling all people to share in the fruits of research. See the list of resources below to read more about what open access is and what the movement seeks to achieve.

Logo of the open Access Button“Each paywall that I hit is an indictment of a broken scholarly publishing system, where people are denied access to research that they need, and ultimately paid for…Paywalls conflict irreconcilably with the power of the Internet.” These words were spoken by David Carroll (beginning at the 2:39:30 mark), a medical student and co-founder of the open access button. Last week a motivated group of students, seeing this broken system as one they would one day inherit, teamed with developers and organizations from around the world to create it and make it available for download. This is a browser-based tool that will enable us to collect information on “who is being denied access to research, where they were in the world, what they do, and why they wanted to read that research.”


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