Take Action

We are committed to making access to research more sustainable, affordable, equitable, and open. Here are actions that you can take in the areas of research and authorship, teaching, and student learning and research. Reach out to a member of the Scholarly Communications department for support.

Research and Authorship

Retain Your Copyright

In scholarly publishing, copyright is often transferred from the researcher to the publisher. However, you can seek to retain your copyright through negotiations with publishers or through open access publishing.

  • The SPARC Author Addendum offers a template to use to negotiate author rights.
  • Publishing research with Creative Commons Licenses also allows for you to retain your rights. These licenses are used in open access publications. Under a Creative Commons License, authors retain their copyright, but give usage permissions. To identify open access journals available in your field, visit the Directory of Open Access Journals. Publishers allowing a Creative Commons License on scholarly work will often request permission for first distribution rights.
  • More information about open access publishing is available at the Libraries’ Open Access guide. 

Share Your Work

  • In addition to publishing open access articles, you can make your work available in institutional or subject repositories. This allows other researchers to access your work without a paywall. Additionally, repositories provide an archived version of your work.
  • Explore the publishing options at JMU.
  • If you belong to a scholarly society, ask if there are plans to transition your society journals to open. 
  • Not all journals allow authors to share a version of their published manuscript. One way to check on your ability to share your published work is to search for the journal you published your article within the Sherpa/Romeo website—this resource provides information about journal policies for self-archiving of research manuscripts. Additionally, you can review copyright policies before publication and negotiate your author rights using the SPARC Author Addendum.
  • You may also be interested in sharing your work prior to publication in a journal via a preprint server. Sharing via a preprint server is one way to solicit feedback from the community prior to submission to a journal. Other researchers prefer to use preprint servers as a way to get the research out as fast as possible, without formal peer review. Some journals have restrictions on the use of preprints prior to submission, so check the guidelines prior to making a decision.
  • If you already publish open, spread the word to your colleagues and students. The annual Open Access Week in October may be a great time to intentionally share the word. If you create open educational resources, take advantage of Open Education Week in March to create awareness.


Provide Articles for Students through Canvas

The Libraries have previously recommended that instructors use “permalinks” to articles included in Canvas courses. This is still best practice for articles to which the Libraries have an online subscription. However, for articles that you legally acquire through other means, please upload a copy of the PDF to Canvas.

Encourage Free and Immediate Access to Dissertations and Theses

Encourage your students and advisees to share their research. Embargoes and restricted access settings delay the visibility and use of student research.

Select Open and Affordable Course Materials

Openly licensed materials, or open educational resources (OER), offer the pedagogical flexibility to customize teaching and learning materials to your curriculum, and assigning openly licensed course materials and Libraries owned and subscription materials can improve student access to course materials.  

  • Look for course materials with a Creative Commons license that give you permission to retain, reuse, remix, revise, and redistribute the content. To identify OER in your field, visit the Open Educational Resources Guide or contact the open education librarian 
  • If you adapt or create OER, consider publishing your work under a Creative Commons license which allows for you to retain your copyright, but give usage permissions. Publishers supporting a Creative Commons License on scholarly work will often request permission for first distribution rights. 
  • You can make your published course materials available in institutional repositories (JMU Scholarly Commons) or subject repositories (OER Commons, Open Textbook Library). Depositing an archived version of your work in a repository allows other instructors to access your work without a paywall. 
  • JMU offers Pressbooks as a publishing option for open textbooks and course materials. 
  • More information about OER publishing is available at the Libraries’ OER guide. 

Student Learning and Research

Make Dissertations and Theses Available through Scholarly Commons

Research is meant to be shared and Scholarly Commons can help you do that. Embargoes on dissertations and theses delay access to your research. We understand students sometimes have concerns that making their dissertation or thesis immediately available will reduce the chance that a publisher will publish an article-length version of the research. However, shortening the research to article length, along with the process of peer review, generally results in an article that is sufficiently different from the original work.

Discuss what options are most appropriate for you and your discipline with your advisor.

Adapted from East Carolina University Libraries

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