Your Work, Your Copyrights--A Guide for Scholars

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Penn collection
Scholarship at Penn Libraries
Degree type
author's rights
open access
sharing your work
scholarly visibility
Library and Information Science
Scholarly Communication
Grant number
Copyright date
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It is easy to document that open access leads to greater visibility for your research. If you participate in an academic sharing site you receive updates on how often your work is downloaded or requested. Those numbers can reach into the thousands because your work is easily discoverable to all via Internet searches. Posting your work on the web, provides you with a date stamp, establishes your ideas as yours, and protects your work from plagiarism, or plagiarism claims. Publication with prestigious journals in your field is paramount for academic success. If that prestigious journal were an open access journal, you mean that you retain some or all of your exclusive rights, under U.S. copyright law. These exclusive rights include the right of distribution (to share), of reproduction (to make copies), and to create derivative works (new scholarship based on your prior scholarship). Although these rights are yours automatically once you’ve created a tangible work, you can also choose to give these rights away. We often sign these rights away without a backward glance or second thought. Armed with the right vocabulary, you may be able to negotiate to keep one or two of your valuable exclusive rights including sharing your article with colleagues and students, posting it to your own website or your university’s institutional repository, or even using your own graph or diagram in a conference presentation. A strong base knowledge of copyright culture, and custom can help you get where you want to go.

Date Range for Data Collection (Start Date)
Date Range for Data Collection (End Date)
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Journal Issue
This guide is meant for educational purposes only, and none of the contents should be in any way construed as legal advice.
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