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Archive for November, 2023

Writefest, publications and copyright: advice and new resources

By Christina Daouti, on 9 November 2023

A wooden surface where someone's hands are visible. Left hand is holding a cup of coffee resting on the surface and the right hand is holding a pencil and writing in a blank notebook. Orange autumn leaves seen at the top of the picture.

Image by Freepik.

Are you settling well into November? We hope you have the chance to take part in WriteFest (also known as Academic Writing Month), an annual opportunity to set writing goals, protect your time to write, adopt some good writing practices and overcome writing blocks, while sharing your writing experiences with others. UCL Researcher Experience lists some great training opportunities and writing retreats suitable for UCL staff and research students.

This post is about good practices addressing what happens after you have completed your writing.

Whether you are writing a thesis, presentation, journal article, book chapter or a whole monograph, you will most likely want to reuse your work in ways that matter to you: for example, share it with others, post it online, reuse it in your teaching and in public engagement activities. You will also want to be able to decide how others may reuse your work. These decisions are important to you as an author, but it’s worth remembering that your research funders (including UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission) also have open access requirements that determine how your work will be published and shared.

To be able to share your work as openly as possible, you may want to:

  • Keep rights that will allow you to reuse your own work. This can be achieved in different ways, from publishing open access to including a rights retention statement when you submit an article. The first step is to become more aware of what a copyright transfer agreement means and how it may be stop you from reusing your work openly. To learn more about this, please see our Copyright and your research publications page or drop us an email at copyright@ucl.ac.uk.
  • Choose a licence that helps you determine how others may reuse your work. Creative Commons attribution licences are designed to help authors determine how a work may be reused. All licences allow copying and sharing the work, as long as the author is attributed. Different types of licences have different restrictions (e.g. around allowing adaptations of the work). For more information, see our recent guest post on the Open Science blog.
  • Plan how you can include materials created by others in your work, particularly if you are making your work open access. If, for example, your article, thesis or book includes images or any other content created by others, you will need to consider whether and how you can include it – usually permission or a licence is required for inclusion in open access works, but it’s also helpful to be aware of what you can do by relying on copyright exceptions.

All of the above are part of good habits in academic writing. They help remove barriers to publishing, protect your author rights and support open dissemination of your work. The copyright team can support you in different ways:

Pink textbox. Text says: 'Join a training session and links to https://library-calendars.ucl.ac.uk/calendar/libraryskillsUCL/?cid=-1&t=g&d=0000-00-00&cal=-1&ct=32648&inc=0

  • Our training sessions include copyright for postgraduate students, copyright for research staff, an introduction to open licences and a more specialised session on publishing agreements. There is still time to register for November/December sessions, and dates for term 2 will be advertised soon. If the dates don’t suit you, contact copyright@ucl.ac.uk to arrange a bespoke session.
  • If you have a specific question, including the terms and conditions of your publishing agreement, you can book an appointment to discuss. Appointments are available both online and in person.
  • UKRI and JISC have published two very useful guides. Managing third-party copyright for research publications (UKRI, Clare Painter Associates) provides invaluable advice for authors who publish open access monographs and book chapters. Publishing under the UKRI open access policy: copyright and Creative Commons licences includes guidance that is useful for anyone, whether they are currently funded by UKRI or not. Our upcoming sessions discuss this guidance in more detail.