You have written a manuscript describing your research. This manuscript represents hundreds of hours spent reading, writing, and doing the actual research. To get this published in a reputable journal, two things must happen.

1.  It must be approved by the journal’s peer-reviewers.
2.  You must sign some sort of copyright agreement.

As the author of the manuscript, you own all the copyrights until you sign a contract with a publisher. These contracts are changing because of changes in technology, changes in funding requirements, and the Open Access Movement. You must read these agreements carefully, so you know what rights you will retain and what rights you will give to the publisher.

For example, 15 years ago authors regularly signed over all the copyrights to their manuscripts in exchange for publication in and distribution by a journal. At that time, the contracts generally gave the journal publisher exclusive rights to the article. That meant that the author of the article had to ask the publisher for permission to:

  • have the article included as a reprint in a book, even if the book was published years later.
  • post the full text of the article on his/her department’s web site.
  • deposit the full text of the article in a repository like arXiv or PubMed Central.

Now these contracts are being changed to allow the author to retain some of these rights. Publishers are starting to see more addenda from authors and their institutions, as the authors try to keep more control of their work.

For Open Access Week 2011 (October 24-30) the Scholarly Communications Group is sponsoring a quiz about Open Access. A quiz with PRIZES! Read our upcoming blog posts, answer the questions correctly, and you will be eligible for those prizes. Prizes are 3 $20 Barnes and Noble gift cards and a $60 gift card to The Dizz. The quiz will be available until Oct. 31.

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