You may want to include sections of your article in later works. You might want to give copies to your class or distribute it among colleagues. And you likely want to place it on your Web page or in an online repository if you have that choice. These are all ways to give your research wide exposure and fulfill your goals as a scholar, but they are inhibited by traditional copyright transfer agreements.
You would never knowingly keep your research from a readership that could benefit from it, but signing a restrictive publication agreement limits your scholarly universe and lessens your impact as an author. If you sign on the publisher’s “dotted line”, is there any way to retain these critical rights?
The answer is “YES!” It is possible to have a balanced approach to copyright management. (See SPARC.)
NIH-funded researchers are by now familiar with the open access policies mandated by the NIH, which requires universal access to all resulting publications within twelve months of their publication. But, there are evolving publishing models and initiatives that you may not be aware of. For example, the faculty of dozens of universities and colleges have signed resolutions allowing (really, demanding!) the faculty’s published work be made more widely available within their institution and beyond.
A committee of University Libraries faculty has been working in concert with the UVM Faculty Senate Research, Scholarship, and Graduate Education Committee (RSGE) to bring these opportunities to the attention of all UVM faculty.
The Libraries Committee has also developed a white paper on scholarly communication. The RSGE has suggested that the Faculty Senate form an ad hoc committee to ensure that UVM faculty retain control of their scholarly work and can reuse it to further their scholarly, educational, and service missions. If you are interested in discussing scholarly communication issues, or in learning more about them, feel free to contact any of the membership group.