Open access and authors' rights

Authors who share the Library’s commitment to Sustainable Scholarship can use the law and their own rights to help ensure the widest possible access to their scholarly work. Learn more about why and how to open access to your work below.

Why should you share your work openly?

Scholars, activists, librarians, funders, and governments have offered a wide range of reasons scholars should share their work openly. Some are idealistic, some practical, some altruistic, and some self-interested. Many of the core arguments for open access, including the benefits to researchers themselves, have been documented in scholarly studies. The site collects (and illustrates) a broad range of reasons for opening your research, and includes videos, testimonials, and links to research about the power of opening your work.

The two key steps to using your rights to share your work are:

  1. Understand and retain your right to share your work, and
  2. Publish your work online with an open license.

Academic and research faculty and students at UVA generally own the copyrights in the scholarly works they create. (Check out our Laws, Policies, and Guidelines page for links to relevant policies, which include a few exceptions to that general rule.) If you choose to publish your work in a journal, book, or other publication, the publisher may ask for a copyright license or transfer, which could leave you little or no right to use or share your own work. That’s why retaining your rights is important.

Publishing in open access journals is one way to be sure research articles are freely available to all readers. But some of these (especially the ones operated by big commercial publishers) charge fees that many authors cannot afford. Books and other materials can also be published open access, but there may be a fee involved there, as well.

Retaining your rights and publishing a version of your work in a free open repository like Libra is an affordable alternative to paying OA fees.

Follow these links to learn more about retaining your rights and following publisher policies.