Copyright and IUScholarWorks

So you want to submit a published or unpublished article into IUScholarWorks (IUSW) repository? Here’s what you’ll need to know about copyright.

If you are submitting an unpublished article, no worries – you are the rightsholder, so go ahead and submit it to IUSW. If you are submitting an article that has been previously published, though, you (the author) are probably not the rightsholder. If this is the case, you will need to do a little extra research before depositing into IUSW.

Generally, copyright transfers over to a publisher upon publication of an article, so you will need to check with the publisher prior to depositing it. If you still have your signed publishing agreement this should indicate what your rights are. If you don’t have this document, here are some suggestions to move forward.

  1. Your first step is to search SHERPA/RoMEO, a freely available online database of publisher copyright policies. Simply type in the name of your journal and you should receive information on what you can submit to an institutional repository such as IUSW. (For those new to S/R, this helpful video should clarify the search process and terminology.)
  2. If you cannot find information through SHERPA/RoMEO, you will want to check to see if the journal has a website. If so, copyright information may be located there.
  3. The final way to check copyright of an article is to contact the editor of the journal–not the publisher, which usually oversees many journals. It is helpful for the author of the work in question to write the message. We’ve found that this usually helps expedite the process. You can use a format like this sample letter to the editor. 

After completing these steps, you should now know what exactly can be deposited into IUSW: pre-print, post-print, or the publisher’s version of your article.

One easy way to save yourself this trouble moving forward is to complete the SPARC Author Addendum prior to signing your copyright over to a publisher. This legal document ensures that you keep the rights that you want, including the ability to archive your work in an institutional repository like IUSW. Read about the addendum to determine if it’s right for you!