As an author, you have the rights to distribute, remix, and copy your work. Many publishers effectively nullify those author rights through standard language in the publisher's agreement. Most standard publishing agreements transfer copyright ownership to the publisher. As an author and scholar, it is in your best interest to attain as much readership, use and citation activity to your work as possible to increase impact and awareness of your research. It can be difficult to achieve a wide distribution of works while the publisher locks down your article to a limited group of scholars with the institutional means to access your work. One solution to this is to publish open access. Some journals are fully open access and others operate on a hybrid model allowing authors to pay additional funds to make their article open. But, there are more options to opening up your research. Consider examining publisher agreements to find out:
- If it's permissible to post to an institutional repository
- If you can host a copy on a personal website
- If you can upload to a pre-print server
These mechanisms are means to achieve broader and unpaywalled access to your article. Google Scholar does an excellent job of crawling the web for alternate versions of articles so that access is just a click away. On top of that, it's legal access. If you'd like to go one step further, consider adding an author addendum to your publisher's agreement explicitly stating what rights shall be retained. SPARC makes an author addendum available. SHERPA/RoMEO has a well-maintained database of standard terms for each journal. Librarians can help you make your work broadly accessible no matter the publisher! Make an appointment for a consultation or email an inquiry today.
UT Libraries has its own institutional repository called Texas Scholar Works. Texas Scholar Works is a great place for depositing research articles both published and unpublished. The repository is maintained by library staff and searchable through common tools like Google Scholar. Each item deposited is assigned a DOI, which makes citing your research easy. Consider posting an author manuscript of a published article in Texas Scholar Works to increase visibility and access.
Funders including the NIH and NSF require deposits to PubMed Central or other repositories of peer-reviewed, published articles. These articles must be open to readers 12 months after publication. Most publishers are aware of this requirement, but it's important to make sure that text explicitly outlining compliance with funder requirements is present. The following is recommended text from the NIH that can be inserted in a publisher's agreement:
“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to NIH, upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible after publication by Journal.”
For more information, see our NIH Public Access Libguide
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