Open Educational Resources in Higher Education

Authors' Rights

We call on UC authors and scholars … to exercise control of their scholarship … to ensure the widest dissemination of works…. *

As the author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.

Copyright is a bundle of rights, not just one right. You do not have to surrender all your copyrights when you publish, though some publishers may ask you to do so. Transfer of copyrights can lead to problems, for example, you may not be able to make copies of your own work to share with your students or colleagues without permission. Transfer of copyrights to the publisher also confers enormous market power on the publisher, as the exclusive owner of the rights to your work.

By retaining your copyright, or by transferring your copyright but retaining some rights, you can control the dissemination of your research. By removing access barriers (including cost) you allow more readers to access your scholarship. UC recommends that you can retain at least some of your rights:

  • You can amend the copyright transfer agreement that you get from your publisher -- or you can ask one of us and we would be happy to help you.


* from The Case for Scholars' Management of Their Copyright (PDF) endorsed by the UC Academic Council, April 2006


Authors often want to submit their articles to the most prestigous and/or highest impact factor journals. Journal Impact Factor from ISI is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a given period of time. ISI's Journal Citation Reports can create a list of the most highly cited journals from a highly selective group of journal titles.

This method is not without controversy as some research has found that there is no statistical correlation between the impact factor of a journal and the actual citation rate of its articles, and that journals that publish many reviews tend to have  higher impact factors (since reviews are frequently cited).

EigenFactor and its Article Influence score, is another way to measure impact. It also includes cost factors, and takes into account the different citation patterns in the social sciences vs. the sciences.

PLOS (Public Library of Science) is developing article level metrics, so that each article will be assessed on its own merits, not just on that of the journal as a whole. And research shows that open access to an article increases its citation.


Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) supports faculty members, post-docs, and graduate students who want to make their journal articles free to all readers immediately upon publication. BRII subsidizes, in various degrees, fees charged to authors who select open access or paid access publication.

Last Update: 06 Jun 17:52