McGoogan News

Retaining your author rights

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. In the past, this required print publication. Today you have other options, like online archiving, but the publication agreement you’ll likely encounter will actually prevent broad distribution of your work.

According to the traditional publication agreement, all rights, including copyright, go to the journal. You probably want to include sections of your article in later works. You might want to give copies to your class or distribute it among colleagues. And you likely want to place it on your Web page or in an online repository if you had the choice. These are all ways to give your research wide exposure and fulfill your goals as a scholar, but they are inhibited by the traditional agreement. If you sign on the publisher’s dotted line, is there any way to retain these critical rights?

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others. An author amendment was approved by the University of Nebraska Medical Center Faculty Senate April 2010.  All authors of the University of Nebraska are welcome to attach this amendment to their publisher agreements or copyright transfer.  It is not a requirement, but a recommendation for authors to retain key rights.  The prime purpose of the amendment is to help authors who are uncomfortable negotiating contract terms with publishers. Because the amendment is merely a proposed contract modification, a publisher may accept or reject it. You may negotiate for all or any one of the rights.

Scrutinize the Publication Agreement

  • Read the publication agreement with great care. Publishers’ agreements (often titled “Copyright Transfer Agreement”) have traditionally been used to transfer copyright or key use rights from author to publisher. They are written by publishers and may capture more of your rights than are necessary to publish the work. Ensuring the agreement is balanced and has a clear statement of your rights is up to you.
  • Publishing agreements are negotiable. Publishers require only your permission to publish an article, not a wholesale transfer of copyright. Hold onto rights to make use of the work in ways that serve your needs and that promote education and research activities.
  • Value the copyright in your intellectual property. A journal article is often the culmination of years of study, research, and hard work. The more the article is read and cited, the greater its value. But if you give away control in the copyright agreement, you may limit its use. Before transferring ownership of your intellectual output, understand the consequences and options.

What if the publisher rejects the author amendment?

  • Explain to the publisher why it is important for you to retain these rights in your own work.
  • Ask the publisher to articulate why the license rights provided under the UNMC Author Amendment are insufficient to allow publication.
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the publisher’s response in light of the reasonable and growing need for authors to retain certain key rights to their works.
  • Consider publishing with an organization that will facilitate the widest dissemination of their authors’ works, to help them fulfill their personal and professional goals as scholars.

How to use the UNMC Author Amendment

  1. Print out, sign and date the Author Amendment. The corresponding author can sign on behalf of all authors.
  2. Staple the Author Amendment to the publisher’s agreement or copyright transfer form.
  3. Write “Subject to attached amendment” below your signature on the publisher’s copyright transfer or publication agreement form. This phrase along with your signature serves to inform the publisher that you accept the publisher’s agreement only if the publisher accepts the attached Author Amendment.
  4. Make copies of all the forms for your records.

 

Adapted from Author Rights: using the SPARC Author Addendum to secure your rights as an author of a journal article.

Altmetrics: A new way to track impact

Altmetrics measure the impact not only of journal articles but a diverse array of online scholarly outputs such as books, book chapters, data sets, computer code, presentation slides, posters, blog posts, digital humanities projects, and websites.

In addition to scholarly impact, altmetrics also measure impact beyond the academy, for example through Wikipedia citations, media mentions, Delicious saves, Tweets, and Facebook posts. This ability to measure public impact is valuable to authors, institutions, and research funders in helping them gauge the real-world impact of their scholarship and the scholarship they support.

Altmetrics are also more immediate than traditional measures of impact like citations that take time to accrue.

Because altmetrics measure impact beyond the journal article, measure more types of impact, and are available right away, they can free scholars to experiment with and receive credit for new types of scholarly products.

Altmetric data can be viewed within Scopus records, as well as with a free booklmarket from Altmetric.com. Additionally, more and more publishers, like Wiley, are adding altmetric data to their articles.

Article-Level Metrics, similar to altmetrics, are an attempt to measure impact at the article level.

They can include traditional measures of impact such as citation counts as well as newer metrics like the number of times an article was downloaded.

A growing number of journals and publishing platforms are making article-level metrics available. For example, article-level metrics are provided for every article published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS). Metrics include total article views and downloads; citation data from Scopus, Web of Science, CrossRef, and Google Scholar; bookmarks in Mendeley and CiteULike; and mentions on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.

Adapted from http://uri.libguides.com/researchimpact under a Creative Commons license.

Archive your work in DigitalCommons@UNMC

DigitalCommons@UNMC is an online repository of the research, scholarly communications, and archival materials produced or owned by members of the University of Nebraska Medical Center community. Based on the principle of open access, DigitalCommons@UNMC seeks to make these materials available to a worldwide audience by tagging, storing, and organizing them in a searchable database. Content types can vary widely by discipline, but the goal of storing all content is the same: To provide a common opportunity for presenting internally and globally what is being accomplished at UNMC.

Examples of Content Include but are not limited to:

  • Working papers
  • Published articles when copyright and/or license allow
  • Course materials, online course modules developed by UNMC Faculty
  • Supplemental Materials to Published Articles
  • Conference Materials: Posters, Presentations
  • UNMC Sponsored Event Materials
  • Annual reports and newsletters
  • UNMC documents
  • Archival Collections

Why contribute?

Institutional repositories serve as a showcase of the scholarly output of universities. This centralized collection is available to a wide audience including potential students and faculty, university partners and funding agencies, and other academic colleagues. Research indicates that articles are cited earlier and more often if they are available in an open access repository, such as DigitalCommons@UNMC.

  • Increased visibility for your academic works: Search engine optimization with Google Scholar and other search engines means your work is recognized as scholarly in nature, making your work highly discoverable.
  • Increase the longevity of your scholarship without increasing your workload: DigitalCommons@UNMC digitally archives your work with unique, persistent URLs, even after a faculty member leaves UNMC.
  • Centralized scholarship: Both previously published and unpublished works are collected on one site, complementing existing print and electronic publishing channels in your field while providing immediate access to your work. Supporting documents can be uploaded to provide context to your research.
  • Real impact: Monthly download reports allow immediate feedback on your work. The Author Dashboard feature lets you track how readers are finding your work as well as real-time full-text download statistics.
  • Institutional recognition: Your work is included in the full range of research and scholarship conducted at UNMC.
  • Contribute to the open access movement: DigitalCommons@UNMC provides the global community barrier and cost-free access to your important research.
  • Publicize: Easily share your work with colleagues and students through the “Tell a Colleague” link and RSS feeds.

To contribute your work, contact digitalcommons@unmc.edu

Resource spotlight: Proofreading help with Grammarly

Writing Support by Grammarly@EDU grammar check tool is now available to all UNMC students, staff, and faculty. Grammarly@EDU is an automated grammar tutor and writing revision tool for academic writing. Use your UNMC email to register at Grammarly.com/EDU.

A web-based application, Grammarly@EDU works one-on-one with a you to develop sentence-level writing skills, prevent plagiarism, and reinforce proper revision habits. Upload drafts of your papers to Grammarly@EDU to receive immediate instructional feedback on over 100 points of grammar and double-check if all sources are properly cited!

Automated Grammar Tutor

Patent-pending technology identifies problem areas in student writing, and delivers instant instructional feedback on over 100 points of grammar.

Revision Tool

Engaging user-interface transforms the revision of text into a learning session that is both structured and connected to students’ immediate writing challenges.

Citation Audit

Originality detection technology allows students to check their own work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against a database of 10+ billion documents.