Authors who publish articles in scholarly/peer-reviewed journals may be required to sign away copyright to their scholarly works, either in full or part, when signing the Copyright Transfer Agreement. With this transfer, authors lose the rights to reproduce, distribute or copy their own works without permissions from publishers. The publishers, in turn, sell licenses to these works back to authors' institutions/libraries for exorbitant prices.
By retaining control of copyright, authors would take control of their scholarly works.
Signing copyright agreements with publishers does not have to be an all or nothing deal. Authors have the option to negotiate with publishers in order to retain copyright to their works. Authors can either:
Retain copyright but license exclusive first publication rights to the publisher
Transfer copyright but retain some specific rights
If publishers are unwilling to negotiate their copyright transfer agreements, authors have the option to:
Publish with journals whose publishers are willing to negotiate OR
Publish with open access journals OR
Archive pre-print work in an Institutional Repository prior to submitting their works to a peer reviewed journal
An author who has already published an article in a scholarly journal can now verify publishers' archiving policies at SHERPA/RoMEO.
SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories. It contains publishers' general policies on self-archiving of journal articles and certain conference series. Each entry provides a summary of the publisher's policy, including what version of an article can be deposited, where it can be deposited, and any conditions that are attached to that deposit. If a journal or publisher is not listed in this database, please contact the publisher directly. RoMEO does not provide self-archiving information on books, monographs, theses or conference papers, however, some series titles may be covered.