Author Rights and Scholarly Publishing

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When you write an article (or book, book chapter, etc.), the copyright to that work belongs to you.  However, when you publish an article you usually will get a “Publication Agreement” or “Copyright Transfer Agreement.”  You’re so excited your work is getting published that you just sign it and send it back, right? In most cases, when you do that you are transferring your copyright to the publisher, and you can no longer exercise the exclusive rights you had as the copyright owner.

Without those rights, you can no longer share copies of you work, use it in your teaching, authorize translations, or display the work publicly on your website, ResearchGate,, or ScholarWorks.

Even if you signed a publication agreement, there are still several ways that you can legally place these items into ScholarWorks:

  • You retained the right to post your work by editing or amending the Publication or Copyright Transfer Agreement
  • The agreement explicitly let you retain that right
  • You published in an open access journal that did not ask for a copyright transfer
  • You or the library asked the publisher (copyright owner) for permission after the rights were transferred

How can you keep your rights as a copyright owner? See if the publisher of your work will accept a first publication right to publish your work, instead of a transfer of copyright, or otherwise give you broader control over your own work.  SPARC has a standard author addendum you can use. One of the issue areas of the Authors Alliance is managing author rights. Be sure to watch the video discussion with Professor Michael W. Carroll about using an author addendum, and for further information about authors and copyright, visit their FAQ.

If you have questions about what material can be placed into ScholarWorks, contact


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Open Access and Altmetrics

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Altmetrics are defined by as “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.”   The use of altmetrics in assessing researcher impact is emerging as a potential alternative or supplement to the traditional bibliometrics of citation counts and impact factor.   Altmetrics data include mentions, discussions and downloads within online platforms such as social media outlets, institutional repositories, and discipline-based networks.   Using altmetrics to inform online impact tends to be more immediate and visible than citation counts from journal articles, which can take years to develop and are often restricted to subscribers.  The immediacy and visibility factor is especially advantageous for new faculty and graduate students in building scholarly impact.

Open access platforms are increasingly offering altmetrics as a way to capture the impact of the various works included.  ScholarWorks, Georgia State’s institutional repository, includes downloads and views of each work submitted by authors.  This information is tracked and emailed to the author each month.   All of the content in ScholarWorks is accessible from search engines such as Google,  which increases visibility and in turn, potential impact.

The following are two examples of open access websites with altmetrics features:

  • an international network of researchers from all disciplines. Researchers can set up a profile, upload works, and follow researchers with similar research interests at no cost.   Altmetric features include downloads and views.
  • BioMedCentral: a publisher of peer-reviewed open access journals, this site includes several altmetric designations such as “highly accessed”, “highly cited”, etc.   In addition, full-time faculty at GSU can apply to publish in a BioMed Central journal at no cost.  There is also a link to search all GSU-authored articles.

For more information on open access and altmetrics:

Mounce, R.  (2013).  Open access and altmetrics : Distinct but complementary. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Society and Technology, 39 (4), 14-17.

Pasquini, L.A., Wakefield, J.S., & Roman, T.  (2014).  Impact factor: Early career research and digital scholarship.   TechTrends, 58 (6), 12-13.

Piwowar, H., & Priem, J. (2013). The power of altmetrics on a CV.  Bulletin of the American Society for Information Society and Technology, 39 (4), 10-13.

Scholarly Impact Tools LibGuide





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National Day on Writing

If you were wondering what was going on yesterday on the Library Plaza, it was the celebration of the National Day on Writing sponsored by the Georgia State University English Department.  What is National Day on Writing? It’s a United States Senate-approved annual celebration of literacy in all of its forms. Eleven tables in Georgia State University’s courtyard  represented different literacy organizations here on campus (the Library, the Writing Studio, Five Points, etc.). Each organization had its own literacy activity.  Visitors to the Library’s table were asked to write why they write on a post-it note and put it on the poster. Here’s a sample of some of the submissions: “Writing helps in self-discovery”, “Writing is the best way to express imagination”, “Writing is your way out”, “Grammar is hard but reading and writing are fun!”, “Writing is rad!”, and “I hope to be the next Neil Gaiman”.

The Library can help you with your writing with the following resources:

  • Expert assistance with a staff of professional librarians who specialize in researching specific subjects such as the arts and humanities, health sciences, business and more.
  • Research materials including millions of scholarly resources in print and online.
  • Tablets, laptops, and other technologies available for short-term or multi-day loan.
  • Distraction free zones for reading and writing such as study rooms, the coffee shop, and quiet study areas on the fifth floor.

The Library has guides to help you write such as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and the Everyday Writer. If you need help editing you paper after you complete your research, schedule an appointment with the Writing Studio or use their Write Chat online help. If English is not your first language, the Applied Linguistics & ESL Department’s Intensive English Program offers ESL Tutoring. Our goal is to help you succeed. We are here to help!

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Why does Open Access matter to undergrads?

OA Doge courtesy Elizabeth Lieutenant, CC by-nc-sa

If you’ve been following our posts about Open Access (OA) research this week, you may think that this is just an issue that matters to professors and librarians.

OA – the movement that’s making scholarly articles and other publications available online for free, with no restrictions – is vitally important to undergraduate researchers too. Here’s why:

  • Open Access articles are easy to obtain for your papers. You don’t have to be logged in to the university’s network, you don’t have to follow the “Find It @GSU” trail, and you don’t have to wait for an interlibrary loan request if we don’t have it: if you’re online, you can get it immediately.
  • It helps your professors teach you. OA publications give your faculty a wider variety of sources to use in class, and broaden the scope of what they can cover in your courses without running into copyright restrictions.
  • It saves the library and the university money. University library budgets are tight all over the country, and GSU’s is no exception. Journal subscriptions are expensive – very, very expensive. OA journals are available free to the library (or to anyone else in the world who wants to do research). The more journals that are available for free via open access, the more money we have for other services and research tools.
  • When you publish your work OA, you can show it off. The university publishes lots of work by undergraduates as open access in our ScholarWorks repository, from honors theses to the journal Discovery. It’s easy for these student authors to share links to their work in job applications or portfolios since anyone can access it. Sharing your work via OA makes it much more likely that others will see and appreciate it.

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GSU Library eBook Workshop

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Are you interested in using eBooks offered through the GSU library? A workshop will be held on Monday, October 27 from 11-12:30 in Library North, Classroom 1.

During the first half of the workshop, we will answer frequently asked questions. We will also discuss various eBook features and how to access or download an eBook. If you would like to bring your laptop or mobile device, stick around for the second half of the workshop where we help you set up your device.

Information about this and other workshops is available on the Fall 2014 Workshops guide.

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GSU Copyright Lawsuit Appeal

Below are links to additional commentary about the 11th Circuit panel’s decision to reverse and remand the case.

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ScholarWorks@Georgia State University: Open Access Institutional Repository

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ScholarWorks@Georgia State University is the university’s institutional repository and a resource for our scholarly community. Institutional Repositories contain scholarly and creative works, research, publications, data, working papers, reports, and presentations contributed by faculty, students, and staff. ScholarWorks is also the home of theses and dissertations completed at Georgia State, by both graduate students and undergraduate students in the Honors College.

Adding works to ScholarWorks makes them widely accessible and easily findable. ScholarWorks is open access, so content can be accessed by anyone, no payment or subscription required. This supports the spread of knowledge and the reputation of researchers and the university. Potential students or collaborators can read work by faculty and students at Georgia State, and find colleagues and mentors to help advance their own research and study.

ScholarWorks provides detailed analytics to authors showing how often content is downloaded, what search terms led to the content, and from where those readers were searching.

A non-exclusive license is the only requirement from an author to post his/her work in ScholarWorks. We will, on the behalf of the author, seek the necessary permissions from publishers in those instances where a copyright transfer agreement limits the author’s ability to freely share the work.

To date there are over 2.8 million downloads from ScholarWorks, and that number grows daily.

For more information about how to make your scholarship available through Georgia State University’s open access institutional repository, please contact

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Social Work Professor co-edits new journal

Dr. Deborah Whitley, associate professor of social work, is co-editor of the new online peer-reviewed journal, GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy. The journal is dedicated to topics related to grandparents raising grandchildren. Dr. Whitley has written extensively on grandparents raising grandchildren and the many implications that arise such as psychological distress for grandparents and behavioral problems in the grandchildren.  Here’s some of her work on these issues.

Kelley, Susan, J., Deborah, M. Whitley, and Peter, E. Campos. “Psychological Distress In African American Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren: The Contribution Of Child Behavior Problems, Physical Health, And Family Resources.” Research In Nursing & Health 36.4 (2013): 373-385.

Kelley, Susan J., Deborah M. Whitley, and Peter E. Campos. “African American Caregiving Grandmothers: Results Of An Intervention To Improve Health Indicators And Health Promotion Behaviors.Journal Of Family Nursing 19.1 (2013): 53.

Kelley, Susan J., Deborah M. Whitley, and Peter E. Campos. “Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren: Results Of An Intervention To Improve Health Outcomes.” Journal Of Nursing Scholarship 42.4 (2010): 379-386.

Kelley, Susan J., Deborah M. Whitley, and Peter E. Campos. “Behavior Problems In Children Raised By Grandmothers: The Role Of Caregiver Distress, Family Resources, And The Home Environment.Children And Youth Services Review 33.(2011): 2138-2145.

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Kicking off Open Access Week with Affordable Learning Georgia

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Open Access Week begins today and runs through October 26.  This international event helps scholars and researchers spread the word about open access to scholarly articles, open data, and open educational resources. In celebration, the GSU library will be blogging about open access each day this week.  We’re kicking off the celebration today by blogging about the Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) initiative.

Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) promotes the use of open textbooks, open educational resources, and other affordable alternatives in order to make college more affordable and to improve student success.

The cost of textbooks and other course materials can be prohibitive for students. Textbook prices have increased by 82% since 2002. Currently, The College Board estimates that students need about $1200 per year for books and other course materials. The U.S. PIRG Education Fund & The Student PIRGs recently surveyed students and found that 65% of the students had decided not to purchase a textbook because it was too expensive. Students who did this were concerned about the effect on their grades.  Additionally, almost 50% of students surveyed reported that the cost of textbooks impacted how many and which classes they took each semester.

Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) began to address these concerns by providing resources and support for the adoption of open or more affordable course materials.  First, the ALG website was designed with a plethora of resources, information, and tools.  Next, a Library Coordinator and a Campus Champion was assigned to each University System of Georgia institution to provide in-person support for locating and adapting resources and for course redesign. If you are an instructor here at GSU who is interested in implementing open or more affordable resources into your course, please contact your Library Coordinator, Denise Dimsdale or your Campus Champion, George Pullman. ALG is also sponsoring grants to provide for release time and expenses. Thirty grants were awarded for implementation in the Spring 2014 semester.  Another round of grants will be announced in January for implementation in the Fall 2015 semester.

In the 2014 school year, open or more affordable course material alternatives are calculated to save students in the University System of Georgia over one million dollars.  You can see the break down in this chart. However, ALG is about more than saving money.  A growing body of literature is showing a relationship between open course materials, GPAs, retention, and completion rates. In summer 2013, implementation of an open textbook in the USG’s HIST2110 ecore class showed a 6% increase in retention from the previous semester prior to open text implementation.  Additionally, successful completion, meaning a grade of A, B, or C, rose 28% from the previous semester prior to open text implementation.  Other schools have also seen positive results. The Virginia State University business school saw 30-40% higher GPAs in their OER pilot program. Read more about these and other outcomes here.

For an extensive list of articles and other resources, take a look at the ALG’s OER Research Collection.

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Cambridge v. Becker (Copyright Lawsuit) Ruling – Updated

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in the long-running copyright infringement lawsuit over the use of electronic reserves.  The court reversed the decision of the District Court, and remanded the case for further proceedings. The decision is here.

News of and commentary on the decision is beginning:

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