Researchers want their work to be accessed and used by as many people as possible. Widespread access to journal articles increases the likelihood that those who could benefit from the contents.
However, when researchers seek to publish their articles in high-caliber, peer-reviewed journals, they are often required to sign over their rights to their work.
If you sign away your rights, you may not be able to:
For more information, read SPARC's brochure on Authors' Rights or read on about "What Authors Can Do."
There are steps authors can take to protect their rights to use and distribute their articles.
Creative Commons provides "free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice."
To learn more, visit the Creative Commons website or atch a portion of Lawrence Lessig's EDUCAUSE 2009 presentation on Creative Commons.