When it comes to publishing, authors often want to be in control of how their publication can be used and distributed. Unfortunately, it is often the case with scholarly publishing that authors are asked to transfer the copyright of their publications to third parties like publishers, leading to them losing control over the use of their own publications. This can create complications for researchers who wish to share their publications more widely, such as through a repository like Dal Libraries’ Dalspace, publish their papers on their personal websites, or create new works in different formats (e.g. republishing an article as a book chapter), as it requires the permission (and sometimes payment to) the publisher.
Fortunately, there are tools out there to assist authors with negotiating and retaining rights when publishing. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries recently announced the revision of the author addendum – a tool that assists authors with negotiating to retaining copyright when they publish in order that they can retain as many rights as possible. In addition, an accompanying guide to go along with the addendum was also developed to help walk authors through the process of using an addendum and retaining their rights.
The guide offers advice for steps that authors should consider prior to publishing, during the submission and review process, and after publication. When publishing, authors should be wary of the rights that they might be asked to transfer by checking publishers’ copyright policies on their websites, and should also consider their goals for their publications (such as creating new works later on, publishing on an open access repository, or sharing through a personal website or other means), and whether or not retaining copyright should be a priority when publishing.
The Dalhousie community is encouraged to contact the Dal Libraries’ Copyright Office if they have questions about author rights and copyright, and can also refer to the Copyright Office’s page on retaining copyright.