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ScholarsArchive@OSU

Faculty Copyright FAQs

I've been contacted by a publisher who wants to publish my research. What should I do?

Having others recognize your research can be rewarding, but faculty members should be wary of publishers' invitations to submit articles to a journal. While most publishers are reputable, a number of "predatory publishers" engage in questionable business practices and take advantage of faculty tenure publication requirements. Read more at Predatory Publishing.

Graduate Copyright FAQs

Who owns the copyright to my thesis?

As the author of your thesis, you own the copyright to your work. When depositing your work in ScholarsArchive@OSU (and agreeing to the distribution license), you still retain copyright to the work. The ScholarsArchive@OSU distribution license allows OSU to disseminate your work via the Internet and migrate the digital file to a different format if necessary. This license is non-exclusive, meaning you can allow others to do the same.

Can I include my previously published journal article(s) in my thesis?

Most publishers allow graduate students to include previously published journal articles in their thesis, without requiring permission. Some, however, may have specific requirements regarding attribution of the published article.

MIT has created a table summarizing journal publishers' policies for graduate students who want to use journal articles in their theses.

Can I use others' copyrighted work in my thesis without asking permission?

It depends. If you're using works from the public domain (created before 1923) or with a Creative Commons license attached, you can generally use the work without asking permission. Creative Commons licensed materials require attribution so make sure you credit the original creator.

If your use falls within the provision of fair use, you can generally use the work without asking permission. To determine if you must obtain written permission from the copyright owner fill out the Fair Use Documentation. In order to use copyrighted material in your work you should answer “yes” to questions 4 & 5.

If you answer “no” to questions 4 & 5, you can consider using another work that’s either in the public domain or has a Creative Commons license. You can, additionally, contact the owner for permission. To obtain written permission, send the copyright owner a concise letter specifying your intended use and allow ample time for a response. If you get no response or if you are denied permission, you must remove the copyrighted material from your document. A doctoral student should send out copyright permission requests at least four months before his or her defense date. You must submit a copy (keep the original in a safe place) of all letters granting the use of copyrighted material to the Graduate School.

I've been contacted by a publisher who wants to publish my research. What should I do?

Having others recognize your research can be rewarding, but graduate students should be wary of publishers' invitations to submit theses for publication. While most publishers are reputable, a number of "predatory publishers" engage in questionable business practices and take advantage of graduate students' inexperience. Read more at Predatory Publishing.

Undergraduate Copyright FAQs

Who owns the copyright in my thesis?

As the author of your thesis, you own the copyright to your work. When depositing your work in ScholarsArchive@OSU (and agreeing to the distribution license), you still retain copyright to the work. The ScholarsArchive@OSU distribution license allows OSU to disseminate your work via the Internet and migrate the digital file to a different format if necessary. This license is non-exclusive, meaning you can allow others to do the same.

Who owns the copyright in my presentation and/or poster?

If you are the sole author of your presentation and/or poster, you own the copyright to your work. When depositing your work in ScholarsArchive@OSU (and agreeing to the distribution license), you still retain copyright to the work. The ScholarsArchive@OSU distribution license allows OSU to disseminate your work via the Internet and migrate the digital file to a different format if necessary. This license is non-exclusive, meaning you can allow others to do the same.

If you co-authored the presentation and/or poster, you and all other co-authors jointly own the copyright to your work.

I've been contacted by a publisher who wants to publish my research. What should I do?

Having others recognize your research can be rewarding, but undergraduate students should be wary of publishers' invitations to submit theses for publication. While most publishers are reputable, a number of "predatory publishers" engage in questionable business practices and take advantage of undergraduate students' inexperience. Read more at Predatory Publishing.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licenses help authors retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work. Every Creative Commons license also ensures authors get the credit for their work they deserve. More and more creators and authors are attaching Creative Commons licenses to their work in order to build a digital commons and a culture of sharing. NOTE: DO NOT attach a Creative Commons license if you are asking to have your work embargoed (see explanation here).
 
There are 6 licenses, all with varying levels of permission:

1. Attribution: CC BY
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

2. Attribution-ShareAlike: CC BY-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

3. Attribution-NoDerivs: CC BY-ND
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

4. Attribution-NonCommercial: CC BY-NC
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: CC BY-NC-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs: CC BY-NC-ND
This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


Attaching a Creative Commons License in ScholarsArchive@OSU

You can attach a Creative Commons license to your work during the ScholarsArchive@OSU submission process. On the Creative Commons license page, highlight "Creative Commons" on the License Type dropdown box. 

On the next page, answer the two questions, and depending on the answers, the appropriate license is attached.

Predatory Publishing

What is Predatory Publishing?

Predatory publishers share several characteristics:

  • They engage in questionable business practices, such as charging excessive author fees or failing to disclose publication fees to potential authors.
  • They fail to follow accepted standards of scholarly publishing, particularly in regards to peer review.
  • They exist to make money by taking advantage of the "author-pays model" of open access journal publishing,* and have no interest in promoting scholarship or advancing knowledge.

*Charging authors/funding bodies to publish articles open access is a model used by many reputable journal publishers and is not the single factor used to determine if a journal should be considered "predatory."

For further information, please review Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing by Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.

Lists of Predatory Journals/Publishers

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, has compiled lists of "potential, possible, or probable predatory" journals and publishers.

A journal or publisher's inclusion on the list does not mean it definitely engages in unscrupulous practices. The lists are based on Beall's opinions and research, and change frequently as journals and publishers modify their business practices.

Authors using these lists to screen publishers and standalone journals are encouraged to reach their own conclusions.

Information on this page was created by Lucretia McCulley, Head of Scholarly Communications at University of Richmond. Used with permission.
Link to Ms. McCulley's page on Predatory Publishing.