Information for Authors

Whether you are an author or a librarian who regularly communicates with researchers, the following resources will provide you with useful introductions to key scholarly communication topics.

Author Rights

Even those who read the fine print of their publication agreements may not fully understand to what extent they have retained or given up their rights as the creators of a work, and may not understand the benefits of retaining some control over the work.

In short:

  • As the author, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.
  • Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work.
  • An author who has transferred copyright without retaining their rights must ask permission to re-use the work – unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions (e.g. fair dealing, educational exception) provided in copyright law.
  • The copyright holder has ultimate control over a work. Decisions concerning use of the work (such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions) are solely the responsibility of the copyright holder.
  • Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, deposit the work in a public digital repository, or reuse portions in a subsequent work.

Metrics

Impact metrics are calculations conceived to quantify the influence of research and scholarly activity.  Because they can have immense influence over a faculty member’s career (hiring decisions, departmental reviews, tenure and promotion, funding allocations), metrics are constantly being debated.

Historically the vast majority of metrics have been calculated at the level of the journal, while newer metrics, or altmetrics, are at the article level. Altmetrics report the impact of a wide range of research outputs, including data sets, articles and code.

Altmetrics are an emerging and evolving form of measurement, which are causing heated debates at many levels. Traditional metrics, for better or for worse, are still the dominant means when it comes to official evaluations of research output.

Predatory Publishing

As the Open Access publishing industry has expanded rapidly, it has attracted its fair share of unprofessional publishers who adopt aggressive practices to recruit submissions and editors, and lack discernible scholarship, academic rigour or credibility. In the same way that authors must exert care when selecting a subscription-based journal where they wish to submit their manuscript, the same care is required when selecting an open access journal. Researchers may not be fully aware of the open access journals in their field, which offers yet another hurdle.

Thankfully, there are simple measures and useful tools for assessing the credibility and quality of both subscription-based and open access journals.

Author Addendum

While traditional publishing agreements often require that authors grant exclusive rights to the publisher, authors are increasingly negotiating to retain some of their rights when agreeing to publish their work.

The SPARC Canadian Author Addendum enables authors to secure a more balanced agreement by retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse, and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes. This addendum is helpful for Canadian researchers who need to comply with granting council public access policies, such as the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. The Canadian Addendum reflects Canadian copyright law and is an adaptation of the original U.S. version of the SPARC Author Addendum.

Takedown Notices

Many researchers make copies of their research articles available electronically on their own personal websites, in their institution’s repository, or on academic social media sites. This unrestricted access can provide greater exposure to their work, leading potentially to increased citations, and offering access to a broader audience, including those who cannot afford journal subscriptions.

In most instances publishers allow pre-print (and sometimes post-print) versions of articles to be publicly archived in such a manner. However, very few publishers allow an author to self-archive the final publisher’s version/PDF.

Publishers will occasionally issue a takedown notice – a request to remove an infringing copy of an article from a website or repository. This is their right as the copyright owner of the work. This takedown notice will often go directly to the website where the infringing content has been placed, and therefore the author will not be involved. However, in cases where the PDF has been uploaded to an individual’s website or to an institutional repository, the author or his or her institution will receive this notice.

How to Respond to a Takedown Notice