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Resource Guide

Organizations and Websites

Association of College & Research Libraries, Scholarly Communication Toolkit
ACRL’s Scholarly Communication Toolkit has as section on authors’ rights.

The Authors Guild
The Authors Guild is a professional association for writers. The Author’s Guild provides a variety of services to help members negotiate contracts and understand their rights—such as complimentary review of contracts and copyright advice—and publishes The Writer’s Legal Guide: An Authors Guild Desk Reference, which includes information on contract negotiation.

Columbia Law School, Keep Your Copyrights
This website contains information about copyright law and publishing contracts. It includes a glossary, sample contracts and clauses (good and bad), and examples of contracts before and after negotiations between authors and publishers.

Georgetown University Library, Copyright at Georgetown University
The Georgetown University Library website has helpful information on copyright and managing your rights as an author.

National Institutes of Health, Public Access Policy
This website provides information on what a publication agreement needs to include in order for the authors of NIH-funded research to be able to comply with its Public Access Policy.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
SPARC “is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication.” SPARC’s website has several resources related to author’s rights, such as an addendum to add to a publication agreement in order to retain certain rights and information on copyright and alternative publishing options.

Science Commons, Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine
This website allows authors to create custom addendums to publication agreements that allows for the retention of various rights.

SHERPA is an organization based out of the University of Nottingham dedicated to open access and developing institutional repositories. ROMEO is a database of publishers’ copyright and archiving policies. It currently includes information on approximately 1,800 publishers.

University of Illinois Library, Author Rights
The University of Illinois Library website includes helpful information on factors to consider when choosing a publisher and what to consider when evaluating a publication agreement.


Books & Book Chapters

 “Negotiating a Book Contract,” in Kay Murray & Tad Crawford, The Writer’s Legal Guide: An Author’s Guild Desk Reference (4th ed. 2013).
Williams Law Library Reference, KF390.A96 C734 2013

What a Contract Means,” in William P. Germano, Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious About Serious Books (2nd ed. 2008).
Lauinger Library, 5th Floor, PN161 .G46 2008
Williams Law Library, 3rd Floor, PN161 .G46 2001  (1st ed.)

Mark L. Levine, Negotiating a Book Contract: A Guide for Authors, Agents and Lawyers (2nd ed. 2009).
Williams Law Library, 4th Floor, KF3084 .L48 2009

Tonya Marie Evans, Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark, and Contracts in Plain English (2nd ed. 2005).

Jonathan Kirsch, Kirsch’s Guide to the Book Contract: For Authors, Publishers, Editors, and Agents (1998).
Williams Law Library, 4th Floor, KF3084.Z9 K57 1999

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Sherri L. Burr, Negotiating the Book Contract, Writer, July 1996.

Heather Leary & Preston Parker, Academic Author Rights: Knowing Is More Than Half the Battle, TechTrends, May 2010, at 23.

Shyam Sunder & Ann Okerson, Sign-on-the-Dotted-Line or Negotiate: A Copyright Primer for Scholars (Mar. 27, 2007).

Barbara A. Sigler, Signing on the Dotted Line, Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, May/June 2001 (Supp.), at 17.

Andrea A. Wirth & Faye A. Chadwell, Rights Well: An Authors’ Rights Workshop for Librarians, 10 Portal: Libraries and the Academy 337 (2010).


Compiled by Morgan Stoddard, Research Services Librarian, Georgetown University Law Library, for the Scholarly Communication Workshop, "Get It Right: Negotiating the Publishing Contract and Rights to Your Scholarship." (April 2015)