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it’s too late for me, save yourselves (or your author rights, anyway)

I published my first two journal articles this year and because I was a coward and had never published before and was terrified of the whole thing I just signed everything they gave me and I never negotiated for open access or any of my author rights. I need to review the contracts I signed, but I suspect they are the regular old “the journal owns everything” boilerplate.

If I had found this website sooner I might not have been so rash: http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/index.html

Not only do they provide a lovely brochure, suitable for handing out to faculty members or including in an orientation package (or as a handout at a “writing for publication” workshop?), they also provide an “Author Addendum,” which would seem to make the process of negotiating your copyright much less scary:

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that authors may use to modify their publisher agreements, enabling them to keep selected key rights to their articles, such as:

* Distributing copies in the course of teaching and research,
* Posting the article on a personal or institutional Web site, or
* Creating derivative works.

SPARC’s Author Rights brochure identifies the rights faculty have as copyright holders and encourages them to retain the rights they need to ensure the broadest practical access to their articles. It explains how to use the SPARC Author Addendum and even gives tips on what to do if the publisher rejects the Addendum. It also offers specific language authors can insert in a publisher agreement when their article will be deposited in NIH’s PubMed Central.

I guess it’s too late for the agreements I’ve already signed, but should I ever publish another article I’ll be using these resources.

(Found via the eIFL newsletter. eIFL encourages all authors to keep their authors’ rights and to make their research available via open access agreements, because open research plays a vital role in the effort to bridge information and wealth inequity in the world.)

Comments

Comment from Dorothea
Time: January 2, 2007, 9:29 pm

Heh heh heh, Anonymous. That sounds really familiar somehow.

Bess, good on you, as always.

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