How to publish

How does copyright affect your publication?

Typically, submitting a publication to a journal means you will sign over your copyright, or rights to that work, to the journal.

Copyright protects “fixed” expressions of ideas, and guarantees the creator exclusive rights to

and produce derivatives of the work

Copyright is automatic, you don't need to apply for copyright like you do for a trademark or patent.

If you sign over copyright to your work to a journal, you will no longer be able to legally do any of the above with regards to your work.

The SPARC Author Addendum does present one way of submitting an article to a journal and retaining some rights, as an author, to that work.


See the U.S. Copyright Office's FAQ page for more info.

An alternative to copyright: Creative Commons licenses

Unlike traditional copyright, Creative Commons licenses allow the creator of a work to assign a license which allows for specific kinds of reuses of that work.

To license your work with a creative commons license, simply place a statement somewhere on your work specifying what type of creative commons license it has, and link back to the Creative website so that readers can view a copy of the license.



CC BY: “This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.”


All you need to do to assign a Creative Commons license to your work is to place a statement to that effect somewhere on the work. See the tab at left "Licensing your work as Creative Commons", or the Creative Commons Organization's website for more information.