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Publishing Contracts

When publishing your work, the agreement you sign with your publisher will determine who retains which exclusive rights to your work. By understanding the terms of your publishing contract and negotiating the rights you need, you can protect your ability to use your work in the ways that are important to you and your career (more), such as:

  • republication in a subsequent work
  • sharing copies with colleagues or students
  • placing your work in an online repository or on your own website

If you assign all of your rights, you may be left with only Fair Use to use your own works (more).

The question is: Do I have to give my publisher all my rights in order to publish? The answer: No, there are some rights you want to try to retain (more). Only you can answer that. However, the more you know, the more empowered your negotiations can be.

A very good resource for academic authors is the Resources for Authors page at SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). They provide numerous resources and answer questions regarding your rights and negotiating opportunities. The most important resource is the Scholars Copyright Addendum used to attach to academic author publishing agreements to assist you in retaining your rights.

Of course there are other addenda developed by other organizations that may be modified for your own use.

At this time, JMU has neither developed its own addendum nor endorsed any others. You should negotiate aspects of your agreement or use an Addemdum reflecting your own best interests. The following resources for authors and creators will inform you of important aspects of your rights as related to publication agreements...