If you are submitting your scholarly work during the fall submission period (or at any point in time for that matter), be sure that you retain your author rights to your work. You want your scholarship disseminated to the widest possible audience. Retaining your author rights can ensure your right to post your work to repositories (such as The Scholarly Forum @ Montana Law, bepress Legal Repository, and the Social Science Research Network (SSRN)). In addition, retaining your author rights can ensure that you can place your work on your faculty webpage, include parts of your article in later works, and give copies to your class. Traditional author agreements often inhibit your efforts to use your work in these ways. Thus, it is critical that you take the time to review your author agreement carefully and modify your agreement so that you keep important rights to your works.
Fortunately, most law school law reviews and journals are happy to accede to this request, and usually ask only that you cite to their publication. Commercially produced journals, on the other hand, can be a different matter and the rights you retain as an author will vary depending on the publisher.
Take the time to identify the rights you have as copyright holder, whether publishing in a law school review or journal or in a commercial publication. You’ll be glad you did. Below are some selected resources to assist you.
- SPARC Resources for Authors — provides access to a brochure on author rights and an author addendum to help author’s retain rights
- Tout de Suite Author’s Rights — by Charles W. Bailey, Jr., introduces key aspects of author rights and includes links to additional resources
- Copyright Provisions in Law Journal Publication Agreements — by Benjamin J. Keele, a short article that focuses on copyright provisions in law journal publication agreements
- AALS Model Agreement — offers a model agreement against which you can judge agreements received from law journals
If you’d like to review a few examples of publisher agreements and author rights pages, take a look below at a sampling of what you may come across when you submit an article for publication.
- Elsevier Publishing — webpage with details on how Elsevier views author rights and responsibilities, links to their posting policies, and definitions
- Taylor & Francis Publishing — webpage with information on their position re copyright and author rights, plus links to their posting policies and author guides
- University of Chicago Press — webpage with guidelines and a FAQ on journal author rights
- Duke Law Journal — webpage with links to author agreements for single and multiple authors
- Michigan Law Review — webpage provide the licensing agreement they ask authors to sign
- University of New Hampshire — PDF of author agreement used by the law review