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Academic Publishing 101

This guide will guide you through the process of publishing an article in an academic journal.

Author Rights and Publishing Agreements

As the author of academic work, you are the copyright holder of that work and have control over how the work is shared, used, and published. When an article is accepted for publication, you will be asked to sign a publication agreement that sets the terms for how your work will be published and shared. A publishing agreement can include signing over the entire copyright to the publisher, meaning that you no longer have any right over how to share your own work. Other agreements may ask just for non-exclusive publishing rights, meaning that they have the right to publish your article in their journal (and are usually the only journal the article may be published in) but you can still share your work personally or archive it in repositories. 

It is becoming increasingly common for authors to publish their work in open-access journals. While open access journals vary, most will require you to apply a Creative Commons license to the work, meaning that anyone can re-use the work so long as they attribute you as the author. It is also possible to include additional terms in a creative commons license, including limiting its use to non-commercial uses, and allowing the sharing of the article but not re-using it in new work.

It is important to understand that you hold certain rights as an author and when you sign agreements you are giving away some of those rights. Always be sure to read your publication agreements thoroughly, and make sure that the publishing agreement aligns with your own needs and goals.

Negotiating With Publishers

As the copyright holder of your article, you have more power than you may realize. Publishers rely on your willingness to give away some of those rights to stay in business, this means that they are more dependent on you than they might let on, and you may be able to negotiate the terms of your publication agreement. Some reasons to do this might include

  • To not sign away your copyright
  • To enable your ability to share your own work with colleagues and students
  • To be able to archive your work in a repository
    • This is often required to meet funder requirements
  • To enable greater access to your work
  • To have more control over how your work is used

Check out the resources below to learn more about strategies you can use to negotiate with publishers.