What Do Publishers Allow?
Prior copyright agreements with the publisher of your work may affect your ability to deposit material in the LAW eCommons repository. Standard publication contracts often require authors to sign over copyright, restricting the ability to distribute the final copy.
However, almost all publishers allow a version of the work to be posted in an academic repository like eCommons or on an author's own website. (This is often referred to as "self-archiving.") Some publishers allow archiving of the publisher's final formatted version, while others may only allow archiving of a "pre-print" (an original manuscript, prior to review and editing) or a "post-print" (a manuscript that has been reviewed and edited, but without the publisher's final layout and typesetting).
In some cases, articles may be deposited only after a certain "embargo" period (usually six to twelve months) has passed.
Which Version Can I Submit?
To determine which version you can submit to eCommons, you can consult the agreement you signed with your publisher, check the publisher's website, or contact the publisher directly. You can also use SHERPA/RoMEO, a searchable database of publisher policies which currently includes information for over 1,000 publishers. Search for the title of the journal you published in to learn what type of archiving is allowed by the publisher's standard author agreement.
Library staff are available to work with you to identify which version of your work can be submitted, and provide assistance negotiating with publishers. Contact us to get started.
Working with Publishers
Publishers are often willing to allow author self-archiving, provided that the published version is properly credited. You can also contact the publisher directly to request permission to deposit the final version of your work in LAW eCommons. For your convenience, LAW eCommons has created a sample letter to a publisher (PDF) that you can use as a template for your correspondence. Just cut-and-paste the sample text into an email or letter, and insert the details for the specific publisher and article.
Library staff can also contact publishers on behalf of faculty. Just send us a message with the details of your publication, and we will work with you to determine the best option for your work.
Modifying the Copyright Terms of Your Publication Contract
Many publishers will consent to changes in the standard author agreement to allow for archiving work in an academic repository such as eCommons. For future publications, consider using the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine or the SPARC Author Addendum to modify your agreement with the publisher in such a way that you are able to retain key rights to your work.
Alternatively, consider publishing your work in an open-access journal (or choosing an open-access publishing option from a traditional journal publisher), which allows you to retain all copyright over your research and make your work available to the widest possible audience. The Directory of Open-Access Journals lists over 5,500 open-access scholarly journals that exercise peer-review or editorial quality control. See About Open Access for more information.