Publisher copyright transfer agreements

We frequently meet with Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff to talk with them about publishing and copyright.  Recently, a lab group at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) invited us to their recurring meeting to talk about author rights, open access publishing, and publisher policies. Meeting with colleagues in this way is particularly productive because it allows us to customize the information in advance and address their specific needs.  It also offers them an opportunity to ask us questions specific to their communities of practice.

We also consult with Dartmouth authors individually (students, faculty, and staff) just after their article has been accepted for publication, and they reach out to us with questions about the publisher’s copyright transfer agreement. The copyright transfer agreement specifies which copy rights the publisher expects to take and which of the rights the author will retain (if any). Often the publisher is asking to retain “exclusive rights” to the work, which basically means that the author relinquishes their right to publish that work elsewhere or share/post the publisher’s final version (the “Version of Record”) on the author’s own website or elsewhere.  Last week, I happened to receive questions from two separate authors, publishing in two separate journals, but with the same publisher. The legal terminology within copyright transfer agreements can be unclear and daunting, even for prolific authors who have completed multiple article submission processes. Although these two articles were published in separate journals, the terms of the copyright transfer agreement were similar. However, the difference between these situations were the copyright needs of the authors and their individual experience reviewing copyright agreements.

The first question came from a prolific faculty author who had an interest in retaining the rights to share the “Version of Record” (the publisher’s final version).  In reviewing the language within the copyright transfer agreement, we could see that the publisher was asking for exclusive rights to the work, which meant that sharing or posting the “Version of Record” would not be possible for the author if he signed the agreement in its original form.  The author would only be able to share the final, peer-reviewed manuscript, which does not have the same polished look-and-feel of the final published version. In order to help this author, I provided him with the Dartmouth Author’s Amendment Publication Agreement Amendment, which we amended to reflect his request to retain the right to share the publisher’s final peer reviewed version (the “Version of Record”) on his own website and within the Dartmouth Digital Commons: Open Dartmouth Faculty Open Access collection.  This amendment was sent to the author’s editor, who is in the process of reviewing it and deciding whether to change the copyright transfer agreement to reflect the author’s request.  Often authors feel uncertain about modifying the language within the publisher’s copyright transfer agreement. But, making special requests or attempting to change the terms of the agreement can be much more difficult years down the road. Publishers don’t directly acknowledge their familiarity with requests to amend the copyright transfer agreement, but authors should know that this kind of request is not completely unusual for publishers. Requesting an amendment adds an extra step to the process of seeing one’s work published, but it is well worth the try in this stage of the publication process.

The second question came from a graduate student who was publishing his article for the first time as the sole author, which meant that this was his first experience navigating the article submission process with any publisher (previous articles had been published in collaboration with faculty who were the corresponding authors and handled this side of things). His main concern was that  he interpret the copyright transfer agreement correctly and check all of the right boxes as he completed the submission process.  But, he was also interested in better understanding what exactly he was agreeing to when signing the copyright transfer agreement.  We really enjoy helping all authors with copyright questions, but it is particularly satisfying to help new authors become confident in the language of copyright as it pertains to their own work.  This student and I met and we reviewed the terms of the agreement piece-by piece together.  All of the terms were the same as they had been for the author I’d helped previously that week.   But, as a this author’s disciplinary sharing needs were different.  He was not concerned about the publisher’s request to retain exclusive rights to the “Version of Record.” As a mathematician, he felt confident that the difference between the “Version of the Record” and the author’s submitted manuscript is so slim that he’d already felt comfortable sharing that version on a discipline-specific sharing spaces such as, which he had done already.

Whether we meet with authors individually or as a group, it is important to create time and space for authors to ask questions specific to their personal and professional copyright needs.  We will continue to host copyright and publishing events and workshops, but we welcome individual requests and department meeting invitations like the ones described above.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us about with your copyright questions!


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National Library Week: Libraries Lead…

It’s National Library Week and an excellent time to celebrate libraries and library professionals, as well as library resources, services, and initiatives that grow and flourish across the United States.  This year’s theme, Libraries Lead, wonderfully articulates the way libaries ensure that everyone has the right to be informed, pursue education, express ideas, and produce and share their creative and scholarly work.

The 2018 National Library Week compass creatively illustrates the ways in which libraries lead and direct progress within the information landscape.  In fact, many of these terms intersect directly with the work that we do in the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program at Dartmouth. A goal of the Program is to lead and direct issues around open access to research, data, and educational materials.

Lifelong Learning: This is centrally imperative in our end goals as we support open access to research, scholarship, and creative work. Everyone should be able to access the information they need to learn and develop new ideas–regardless of their social, economical, or geographic situations. Unfortunately,  many scholarly articles are still published in subscription journals that restrict user access because of their high subscription fees, and the extremely high costs of textbooks present barriers to student learning.  Unless you are a student, faculty, or staff member at an institution like Dartmouth that pays for access on your behalf, this information is unaffordable, and therefore inaccessible. Continued work in the open access publishing arena is changing that. For example, researchers can already find many authoritative open access journals online through sources like the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Access and Preservation: The Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Article collection on  Dartmouth Digital Commons (DDC)  is now available at Dartmouth for sharing scholarly content openly with the world.  This is made possible by Dartmouth faculty in Arts & Sciences, Geisel School of Medicine, and Thayer School of Engineering, who voted to adopt the Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy.  Those  faculty can share their articles within the Open Dartmouth collection.  DDC is an open repository system supported by the Dartmouth Library, and it is also available for sharing Dartmouth student publications and other emerging staff and department collections. DDC is internationally open, available, and searchable by anyone.

Curiosity :  Information is a key ingredient for supporting the creative process. People engaged in any creative thinking and work have questions, and open access efforts help us reveal and make freely available the information that will help answer those important questions as well as generate new ones.  Curiosity is incredibly important to a culturally, socially, and technologically rich society, and we strive to make information as free as possible in support of that.

Community:  While support for “open” tends to highlight the access and discovery side of this issue,  progress towards”open” would end without researchers’ and creators’ willingness and ability to share their work.  Sharing and communication are cornerstones for building community locally and internationally, but sharing a personal story or a published article can involve risk and vulnerability. Social networking platforms have created environments that encourage and reward sharing, and have made it easier to present our personal and professional selves open to the world.  But, these platforms still do not remove the risk that comes from sharing one’s published or copyrighted work.  Tools such as the Dartmouth Digital Commons are designed to help support sharing in a safe way, and we in the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing program are here to offer Dartmouth users education and support for safe and legal sharing of their creative and scholarly work.

There are many other ways that the National Library Week theme Libraries Lead intersects with work towards open access at Dartmouth, and we always look forward to opportunities where we can engage with our community about that. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Jen Green and Barbara DeFelice

Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program

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Dartmouth Funded Open Access Article “Went Viral”

The Dartmouth Open Access Fund supports the publication of articles that can be read by anyone, regardless of ability to pay for subscription access. 

A recent paper supported by this fund has received a lot of media attention, according to an article on the Dartmouth News of March 9th 2018.  Authored by Julia Dressel, Dartmouth class of 2017, and Professor of Computer Science Hany Farid, the paper is titled “The accuracy, fairness, and limits of predicting recidivism“, and it was published in Science Advances, a fully open access journal from the AAAS. 

The publication uses Altmetric as a metrics service to track several kinds of uses of the articles.  A view of that today displays the amount of attention this article has received in the news globally. 


The article is posted in Dartmouth’s Open Dartmouth repository for faculty open access articles.  Professor Farid has also contributed to the Open Dartmouth poster series, offering this quote:

“It is, of course, always best for scientists to publish their work in Open Access journals so that the public has free and unfettered access to the latest scientific results. In the case of Julia Dressel’s thesis work, this was particularly true because her work on the accuracy and fairness of predicting recidivism has real and immediate implications to the public and to public policy.”

Please let us know if you have questions about using the Dartmouth Open Access Fund, participating in the Open Dartmouth poster series, and having your work included in the Dartmouth Digital Commons open repository. 

Barbara DeFelice and Jen Green

Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program


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Choosing a Publisher in a Time of “Predatory” Practices

Much has been discussed and written in the past few years about so called “predatory” publishing practices, which are better characterized as “questionable” publishing practices.  Many people working in academia have received email notes asking them to submit a paper to a journal with a familiar-sounding name or to give keynote talk at a conference or to join an editorial board.  While there is nothing wrong with publishers soliciting in this way, since the academic workforce supplies publishers with their needed content, the number of these that are not relevant to the person’s field has increased considerably.  Another practice that has emerged is placing people on editorial boards without their permission.  

Dartmouth faculty have been concerned about the prevalence of these practices, and so we are developing programs and materials to help faculty, students, and staff navigate the contemporary publishing landscape, while supporting the emergence of new journals and publishers. The challenge is to provide succinct information while maintaining a nuanced view of the current publishing landscape, and enabling dissemination of global scholarship and research. 

To accomplish that for the Dartmouth community, we developed Choosing An Article Publisher: A Checklist.   We also draw attention to Think Check Submit, a new tool that was collaboratively developed by stakeholders in the academic publishing community. 

Although these tools provide a good place to start in your thinking about choosing a publisher, journal or conference to disseminate your work, in the end every situation is unique to the subject area or individual.   So we are happy to offer seminars customized to  your research group or department, and of course answer your own questions. 

For questions and to arrange a seminar, please contact Barbara DeFelice and Jen Green in Dartmouth’s Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program




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Let’s talk about textbooks

Happy Open Education Week! March 5-9 is designated as a week to raise awareness about open education and its worldwide impact on teaching and learning. This is a great time to think about the costs of textbooks and how open textbooks can make education more affordable.

For decades, the price of textbooks has increased at more than three times the rate of inflation. A report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs found that 65% of students have decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive. As students seek affordable ways to purchase used textbooks or share with classmates, textbook publishers have suppressed secondary markets and sharing by publishing frequent new editions, bundling books with additional supplementary materials, and requiring the purchase of online access codes which only work for one student.

This week we are asking Dartmouth students to tell us about how textbook prices affect them. There are two whiteboards in Baker-Berry Library (near the circulation desk) and they pose two questions:

  1. How much money did you spend on textbooks for winter term?
  2. If you hadn’t spent that money on textbooks, what would you have used it for?

Students have responded! They expressed frustration over textbook costs, recommended work-arounds to help other students reduce costs, and were thankful for professors who didn’t require they purchase a textbook. They also told us about what they could do with the money they spent on textbooks if they didn’t have that expense. We saw a wide range of responses including paying rent, buying food, saving, getting a new blanket, paying student loans, buying a plane ticket home, getting a new laptop charger, paying their medical expenses, and spending on fun.

One possible remedy to the problem of rising textbook prices can be found in open educational resources or OERs. SPARC defines OERs as teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, texts, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.

OERs are out there and they are building momentum. You can find high quality open textbooks on sites like OpenStax and OER Commons. Twenty state governments are challenging colleges to save students money by using open textbooks through the #GoOpen initiative. Some states have OER mandates that require institutions to label courses in course catalogs that use free textbooks or OERs. And in September, the Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced in Congress.

I think open textbooks and other open educational resources present an exciting opportunity for Dartmouth. As OER are becoming more common, there are more and more high quality open textbooks available that can be adopted and adapted for Dartmouth courses. I’m interested in courses that have already used OER here and courses that might in the future. And I’m excited by the potential for more Dartmouth faculty and students to become authors of open educational resources and make resources available in areas where nothing open yet exists.

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Recent Dartmouth grad? Looking for a first time job? Read more!

This year, we are pleased to host the Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for a graduating student or recent graduate of Dartmouth to spend a year learning and contributing to new directions in the open dissemination of materials resulting from Dartmouth’s digital scholarship, research, and educational activities.  


This fellowship is open to graduating seniors and graduate students of Dartmouth College with an interest in digital technology and libraries. Please note: Candidates must have completed their undergraduate or graduate degree before July 1, 2018. This is a one-year, full-time paid fellowship with Dartmouth benefits that runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. If you have additional questions regarding this fellowship, please send email to:

About the Fellowship:

The fellowship is designed to be tailored to the individual interests of the candidate in support of the mission of the Scholarly Communication, Copyright and Publishing Program and the Digital Library Program.  The Fellow is encouraged to propose a project that furthers the development and awareness of open repository and digital publishing systems and services.  There are opportunities to develop knowledge of digital publishing, including copyright and metadata; to develop skills in teaching and marketing about key initiatives; and to collaborate on projects with other Fellows and staff across the Dartmouth Library.  

Following are examples of the work that may be involved, depending on the interest of the successful candidate:

  • Further develop the Dartmouth Digital Commons as a core site and service for the open dissemination of the results of Dartmouth research, scholarship, and education. 
  • Support students involved in student-led publishing through the use of the Dartmouth Digital Commons publishing system and involvement in educational activities.
  • Assist with developing communities and collections on the Dartmouth Digital Commons publishing system.
  • Assist with workshop development, facilitation and teaching; and outreach events across campus in collaboration with the Library’s Education and Outreach Program.
  • Participate in projects and meetings with the Open Dartmouth Working Group, the Digital Library Program, and other units in the Dartmouth Library.

Application Process:

Please submit the following materials via email no later than Monday,  March 21 2018 to: 

  • Resume
  • Cover letter describing how this position will help you meet your future goals including;
    • why you are interested in this position
    • contributions you can make to this position and the Dartmouth College Library;
    • unique qualifications you bring to the positi
  • Names and contact information for three (3) references

Please make sure your name is on all materials and submit them together to ensure they are properly reviewed.

This position will remain open until filled. Applications will be reviewed as they come in.

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Managing your professional identity online



February is GRAD Mental Health Awareness Month, and Dartmouth’s Graduate Student Council and the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies collaborated to offer a series of events for grads to raise awareness about graduate student mental health.  As part of that series, Barbara and I offered the “Managing your professional identity online” workshop, which took place on February 15th.  We had about 15 graduate students join us in Berry Library over a complimentary lunch and conversations about tools to help ease their minds about their online identities.

One of the first things we emphasize when we run this workshop is the fact that whether we like it or not, we all have an online identity.  The question is: “Is our online identity saying what we want and need it to say about us?” Last week’s session began with an exercise where participants pair up and “google” each other’s names.  After a few minutes, we discuss their findings, whether the information was accurate, and if they encountered surprises. Most often, our workshop participants discover information about someone else who shares their same name, and they wonder how to handle that.  

An important first step in managing our professional identities online is to disambiguate our names from other people who share the same name and who also may share similar work or personal characteristics.  ORCID is a non-profit organization with the goal to help researchers, scholars, and professionals do just that.  Last week, we helped each of our participants create an ORCID, and if they already had one, we helped them understand how to quickly populate their ORCID with their publication citations, professional achievements, as well as work and educational experiences. This information along with the unique ID that ORCID assigns when you create an account make a significant impact on how quickly and effectively others find you and your work when they search online.  Once you have an ORCID, you include it as a link on your personal website or even in your professional email signature, and this serves as another easy pathway to an accurate representation of your online self.  Creating an ORCID is quick, easy, and free!

Of course, managing your professional identity online goes beyond creating an ORCID, so we also offer advice about how and where to establish an online presence (e.g., on a website, on twitter, on a department page, etc.). Our online identities and circumstances are all unique, so we make sure to take time during the session to address the specific questions and needs of our participants.  This leads to interesting conversation, and I often come away from these sessions having also learned something more about how to better communicate and convey my professional self online.

If you are interesting in learning more about ORCID and how to manage your professional identity online, please stop by our “What’s the Buzz?: Publishing, Copyright, and Open Scholarship” session this week in Berry Library’s, Novack 73 study room on Wednesday, February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm.  It’s a monthly drop-in session, and this month I will be there to show ORCID to anyone who wants to learn more.  Hope to see you then!

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Introducing a Metrics Toolkit!

Understanding scholarly metrics (the measurement of the impact a particular journal or article has on a particular field of research), the tools available to determine metrics,  and how to interpret metrics is complicated. There are many tools that can measure the impact of one’s work.  None of them are “one-size-size fits-all” products, and as such, it is important to understand the strengths and weakness, the perspectives and angles, and the measurement methods for all of the existing metrics tools. 

Recently, the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program at Dartmouth launched a series of 30-minute drop-in sessions called “What’s the Buzz?:  Publishing, Copyright, and Open Scholarship” where we talk about new tools and services to help everyone understand the scholarly publishing landscape a little better.  Our next “Buzz session” will be on February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm (Novak 73 Study Room) and will provide  an opportunity for you to explore with us a newly launched resource call the Metrics Toolkit 

Identifying the various ways to apply and understand scholarly metrics has been a daunting and nearly impossible endeavor, but last week, a group of scholarly communication, copyright and publishing professionals working under the support of a 2016 Force11 Pitch It! Innovation Grant as well as support from OHSUIUPUI, and Altmetric released the Metrics Toolkit, “a resource built to help researchers and evaluators navigate the ever-changing research metrics landscape.” The Metrics Toolkit developers here describe this new resource below:

“The Metrics Toolkit includes 27 expert-written, time-saving summaries for the most popular research metrics including the Journal Impact Factor and Altmetric Attention Score. Even better, the Metrics Toolkit includes an app that can recommend discipline-specific metrics to satisfy your specific use cases.”

If you are interested in learning or talking more about the Metrics Toolkit, please join me on February 21st from 1:30-2:00pm in the Novak 73 study room.  Bring your coffee or tea and I will bring the snacks!


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Dartmouth Digital Commons: building a collection of faculty publications

Dartmouth Digital Commons (DDC), an open repository for sharing Dartmouth-created content with the world, made its public debut this past October 2017.  Since then, collections on the DDC have been growing. There are a few communities to explore on the DDC (e.g., student journals), but one steadily growing collection to watch is the Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles collection. 

Open Dartmouth currently holds about 450 downloadable articles authored by Dartmouth faculty.  All articles are freely available and open for anyone at Dartmouth and to access and use. Finding freely available content can be difficult, and below are a few factors that help us make that happen within the Dartmouth Digital Commons:

  1. Articles published in open access journals: Some articles were originally published in open access journals, and therefore can be legally shared by default. The Directory of Open Access Journals offers a comprehensive list of open access journals for your publishing or research needs.
  2. Publishers with generous sharing options: Some articles are published in journals that offer flexible agreements, which will allow authors to share their work within open institutional repositories like the DDC.  SHERPA/RoMEO is a resource we use to help us determine rights.  We often advise authors to look at this site before they decide where to publish their work so that they understand what the publisher rights agreement will allow or restrict once it’s been signed.
  3. The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy: Other articles found on DDC have been published in subscription-based journals, which typically restricts their access to those who pay for a subscription to the journal or pay for one-time access to the article.  The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy allows us to share faculty articles written in 2015 (and onward), which is the year when faculty in the Thayer School of Engineering , the Arts and Sciences, and the Geisel School of Medicine had all completed a vote in favor of the policy.

But, before we determine what we have the rights to share on Open Dartmouth, there is the matter of first finding Dartmouth faculty-authored content. This requires significant time and work, but the Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing Program librarians and staff have access to data resources, which help us find articles online, determine our rights to legally share content, and help us steadily make content available on DDC.  Once an article is found and determined eligible for inclusion, we add the appropriate metadata to those articles, which allows them to be searched and discovered by those who visit the DDC.

That’s one method.  However, we also love to hear from faculty when they publish an article, and we encourage them to share their recently published work with us via the DDC “Submit Work” form.  Once an article is shared via the form, we (in the Library) determine whether Dartmouth has the rights to post the article (based on the above factors), taking pressure off of faculty for having to determine that themselves. Using the form is easy, and we hope that Dartmouth scholars find it convenient enough to participate and share their valuable research with Dartmouth and the world.



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Reflections on Open Access Week 2017

Thanks to all who helped us acknowledge and celebrate Open Access Week 2017 (October 23rd-27th) at Dartmouth!  Open Access Week is an international and annual opportunity for everyone on campus to learn about, think about, and talk about how important openly available information is to research and learning.  This year’s kick-off event was the opening reception for an exhibit titled Dimensions of Open, which will be on display in Baker Library’s Main Hall through January 26th, 2018. This is an exhibit curated by the Open Dartmouth Working Group and inspired by the efforts of Dartmouth authors, creators, artists, and inventors to make the results of their work openly and publicly available, and it reveals the complex issues surrounding open information through six dimensions: global, political, financial, workforce, technological, and future.

We also announced the launch of the Dartmouth Digital Commons, which is where you will find the Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access article collection.  This new online resource is open to the world and is our vehicle for implementing the Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy, allowing us to showcase the research and scholarship of Dartmouth faculty far and wide.

Workshops during Open Access Week offered members across the Dartmouth community opportunities to learn about how to make course materials openly available in Canvas (Dartmouth’s course management software), what to consider when sharing work openly online, and how to manage your professional identity online.

If you missed Open Access Week 2017, don’t fret.  There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to engage on topics of opening access to scholarly and creative work, including periodic offerings of the workshops mentioned above.  If  you are seeking national engagement on this topic, SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has taken this year’s Open Access week theme,”Open in Order to…”, and extended its life through the microsite,, which allows users to continuously share their ideas of why open access is important to them.  In the meantime, plans for Open Access Week 2018 are already underway, and we hope you can join us then.

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