Copyright at USU

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Sharing Research on Personal Websites

Q: Can I send a colleague a copy of my article?

A: You can always send as copy of the final post-peer review manuscript to colleagues. The final publisher PDF can usually be shared with colleagues through one-to-one emails. You most likely will NOT be able to send the final publisher PDF to colleagues using a list-serv, a personal website or any other forms of public broadcast media.

Check your copyright release form.

Q: It is my research so I should be able to post my articles on my own website. Right?

A: Not necessarily. It depends on what rights you retained when you signed the copyright release form, and what rights you gave the publisher. (Click here for examples of how to modify your copyright release form to retain more rights.) Most publishers allow authors to post the final, post peer-review manuscript on a personal website, but NOT the publisher's final PDF. You can usually post the final publisher title and abstract on your personal website and then provide a link to the publisher's website to your article. Check your copyright release form for each article that you want to post. Sometimes it will require you to use special wording to accompany the title and abstract.

Q: If my personal website is password protected, can I post the publisher PDF?

A: Probably. Read the copyright release form carefully, and if it is unclear ask the publisher for clarification. Continue to ask for clarification if the response is unclear or different from what you expected.

Q: I cannot locate my copyright release form. How do I find out what a publisher allows and does not allow?

A: Contacting the publisher directly. Alternatively, go to the publisher's website to see what their current copyright release form states. Most publishers provide a link to this form from their instructions to authors website. Your librarian may be able to assist.

A quick but not necessarily 100% sure way to find out is to locate your journal in the SherpaRoMEO database. RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher policies on the self- archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories. It contains publishers' general policies on self-archiving of journal and conference articles. 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. Click here to enter the RoMEO database.