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Retaining Your Rights

Your article has been accepted for publication, and of course you want it to have the widest possible readership in your field. It's quite likely, though, that the publication agreement you will be asked to sign will prevent the broad distribution of your research. According to federal law, the creator of a written work owns the copyright to the work. Some publishers, however, ask authors to sign over these rights as a condition of publication.

Signing a restrictive publication agreement limits the impact of your research. You may not be allowed to use sections of your research in your later research. You may not be able to distribute copies to your students and colleagues. And you may not be allowed to put a copy on your web page or in an online archive.

Learn about Your Publisher's Policies

Does your publisher limit your rights? Use these sites to find information on your publisher's policies:

Attach an Addendum to Your Contract

When you sign a contract with a publisher, add an author's addendum to make it clear that you intend to retain rights over your work.

The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will create an addendum for you based on your individual preferences and needs.

To learn more about author addenda and copyright, see the Resources for Authors maintained by the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).