10 Things to Do When Getting a Publishing Contract

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Guest post by by LeEtta Schmidt, Copyright and Intellectual Property Librarian, and Jason Boczar, Digital Scholarship and Publishing Librarian 

  1. Read it thoroughly.  This includes any click through agreement that might be part of a journal manuscript submission system.   
  1. Talk with your co-authors.  Corresponding authors are often asked to sign for all co-authors with the affirmation that they have their co-author’s agreement.   
  1. Ask questions about anything that is not clear.  Scholarly Communication Experts at the USF Libraries can provide you with input and assistance. 
  1. Make sure you have all the permissions you need.  Publishers often require authors to have obtained permissions for any material or image included that they did not create themselves or that was previously published.  Your Copyright Librarian can help you figure out when you need permissions and where to get them. 
  1. Review the publisher’s author rights policies.  Your publisher’s posted author rights policy may have more information than your contract on what you, as an author, can do with your work after publication.  Your Copyright Librarian can help with locating these policies. 
  1. Manage your rights.  Many publishing agreements include a transfer of copyright ownership.  This is not your only option.  Scholarly Communication Experts at the USF Libraries can connect you with tools to negotiate with your publisher. 
  1. Get clarification about rights reversion. A reversion clause allows you to regain rights to your work if certain conditions are met, such as your work being out of print after a certain amount of time.  Scholarly Communication Experts at the USF Libraries can help you check to see if these clauses are in your contract. 
  1. Check your embargo.  Many publishers set embargo periods on when authors can archive their publications with institutional or disciplinary repositories. Scholarly Communication Experts at the USF Libraries can help you with locating embargo policies and with archiving your work in the USF Institutional Repository. 
  1. Select an alternate journal for your publication. If the contract, contract negotiations, or publisher policies do not allow you the necessary freedoms with your work, then you can always select an alternate journal with more amenable policies and contracts.  Your Librarian can help you locate a high impact journal.   
  1. Save a copy for yourself.  Posted publisher policies can change, but your contract will likely not change.   


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