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How Do I Increase the Visibility of My Research?

Retain Your Rights

According to federal law the creator(s) of a written work owns the copyright to that work. Publishers often ask that you sign over these rights in order to publish the work in one of their publications. However, many publishers ask you to sign over more rights than they need for publication, and signing the "standard" agreements may impair your ability to use your material in the future or share it with others.

Penn's Copyright Policy states that "With respect to works such as journal articles and other similar publications, when an author transfers an interest in these copyrightable works, the author should use reasonable efforts to secure for the University the right to reproduce such works, royalty free, for all traditional, customary or reasonable academic uses."

Many journals allow their authors to put copies of their work in personal or institutional repositories, or reuse material in later work, or are open to negotiating changes from the agreements they first present to authors. To find out more about particular journal policies, or about addenda you can include to retain your rights, see this page.

Deposit in an Online Archive

Depositing your work in an online archive, particularly one that is freely accessible, can make it easier for your work to be discovered, used, and cited by scholars and other interested readers.

ScholarlyCommons: Repository, Penn's institutional repository, gives a permanent, freely accessible home to the work of Penn scholars. Your work is displayed along with other work of your research unit, is full-text searchable, and is indexed by major search engines like Google. You also receive periodic reports of how often your work is downloaded.

Penn also lets you create a site to show off your entire CV, or whatever selections from it you want to highlight. You can create a Selected Works site that lists all your publications, organized by type, subject, and/or date. Links can be created automatically to copies of your papers in ScholarlyCommons: Repository, or you can link to other locations with text or abstracts of your work. You can also upload papers yourself, and include links to more information about you and your work. Interested readers can subscribe to email or RSS lists to be notified when you post new material. Our tools page gives information on how to set up your site.

You may also be interested in depositing into global repositories for your discipline. Some of the better-known discipline repositories include for physics and quantitative sciences, PubMedCentral for biomedical and life sciences articles, and SSRN for social sciences and law. The OpenDOAR directory turns up well over 100 more discipline-specific repositories worldwide.

There are also thousands of open access journals that also make their articles freely available to all readers worldwide, thus giving their articles much of the same exposure as freely accessible repositories.


Publish in Open Access Journals

Open access journals provide all of their content to the world, free of charge. A large listing of open access scholarly journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals, organized by title and specialty.

As is the case with subscription-based journals, open access journals vary in their impact, their review process, and their degree of specialization. Many open access journals are peer reviewed. Business models also vary. Many open access journals are funded by a sponsoring institution. Some are funded by publication fees charged to authors.

Many journals that are not fully open access still include open access articles. Some journals open access to their articles at some interval after initial publication. (This "embargo period" can range from a few months to a few years.) Many others allow their authors to deposit open access versions of their articles in their personal or institutional repositories. (The Sherpa/Romeo list shows publishers that allow this sort of self-archiving.) Some publishers of closed-access journals will propose to open access to an article if the author pays an "open access fee" (though many of these publishers also allow authors to self-archive their articles in their own repositories without paying a fee.)

Among journals that are not open access, pricing can vary widely, as this journal cost-effectiveness index shows. Choosing to publish in lower-priced journals, or journals that give discounts to smaller institutions or institutions in developing countries, can be an alternative means of increasing the potential readership of an article in cases where open access publishing is not feasible.

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