Understanding Your Author Rights, Part Two

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of understanding, retaining, and exercising your author rights when you’re publishing your work. But what about your earlier publications? If you’re unsure which rights the publisher permitted you to retain and/or can’t find a copy of your Author Agreement or Copyright Transfer Agreement, the following resources may help.

Finding Information Online

RoMEO, managed by SHERPA services out of the UK, is “a searchable database of publisher’s policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.” (RoMEO FAQ). You can search by a journal’s title, ISSN, or publisher to find information regarding the journal’s open access options and self-archiving policies, the key information included in the publisher’s boilerplate Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA). RoMEO entries often include publisher contact information.

RoMEO’s data also powers other services such as http://rchive.it/.  Like RoMEO, searching for a journal or publisher will yield information regarding OA and self-archiving policies, but adds explanatory and contextual information designed to assist authors in understanding the fine print.

Contacting the Publisher Directly

In our experience, most publishers are very responsive when it comes to answering authors’ questions regarding permissible uses of their work. While few may be willing to alter a CTA post-publication, it’s not unheard of for specific requests to be honored on a case-by-case basis.

If RoMEO doesn’t include a journal or provide the publisher’s contact information, Ulrichsweb is a good next step. The online directory includes all available contact information for the over 300,000 journals and serials indexed.

If you need additional assistance, we’re here to help! Contact Sarah Leadley, leadley@uw.edu, with your questions.

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