When most people hear the term, “open access,” they typically think of information that is freely accessible on the web; however, that only encompasses half of what open access stands for. Open access is not only about being able to obtain information for free, but it is also about being able to reuse that information freely, i.e. how that information is subsequently distributed, linked to, and built upon.
By default, you, the author, hold the copyright for every new work you create, meaning you alone have the right to distribute and create derivatives from it. The good news is you can waive this right by adding a Creative Commons License to your work, which explains to users what they may or may not do with it. For example, a CC-BY license tells users that they may distribute and create derivative works, as long as they attribute the original work to you.
Adding a Creative Commons license to your work in IUScholarWorks is a simple step. When you submit an item to the repository, you have the opportunity to specify the name of a license in the Rights field during the submission process. Remember, leaving this field blank means the that you reserve all rights to your work!