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This guide provides a brief introduction to publishing journal articles and books.

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Publishing Terms

Terms used in publishing.

  • Gold OA (Open Access) - the publisher makes all articles and related content available for free immediately on the journal's website. Articles are licensed with Creative Commons licenses. Many gold open access journals follow an "author pays" model and charge APCs (article processing charge).
  • Green OA - referred to as self-archiving, is the practice of placing a version of an author's work into an online institutional repository, making it freely accessible for everyone. 
  • Hybrid OA - a subscription journal that offers some articles as OA if the author pays a APC fee to make the article OA. The publisher charges for a subscription to view other content. 
  • Article Processing Charge (APC) - publication fee charged to authors to make work available in OA. This fee does not mean the author retains copyright.
  • Creative Commons - is the licensing used for Open Access items or if a copyright holder wants to allow others to use their work, this allows the holder to clearly advise how the copyrighted item may be used. 

Opportunity to Publish in Peer Reviewed Journals at No Cost

Liberty University has an opportunity to publish journal articles with Cambridge University Press hybrid and gold journals for free. As long as you have as your email address domain you qualify. Please see our Cambridge webpage for details.

To browse journals in your subject area, go to the Cambridge Core journals webpage.

Offer expires 12/31/2023

Liberty University researchers have expanded access to content and no-fee Open Access publishing opportunities through JFL’s membership in the Virginia Academic Library Consortium (VIVA).

Faculty Publications and Presentations

When publishing or presenting their own scholarly works, faculty should consider two aspects of copyright:

  1. The Faculty member's rights as the author/creator for the work being published/presented
  2. The use of others' copyrighted material within the work


Faculty Member as Author/Creator

In general, whoever creates a work is the copyright holder. (An exception would be works made for hire.) Copyright is automatic, and it is not necessary to register for copyright or use the © symbol. If you are interested in registering for copyright, please review the registration portal at the U.S. Copyright site. 

The copyright holder may grant permission to others who wish to use their work. They may also use a free Creative Commons license to allow others to use their work without asking for permission. A Creative Commons license allows the copyright holder to choose the terms by which others can use their works. All Creative Commons licenses require attribution to the author. 

Copyrighted Materials within Publications/Presentations

When a work that includes copyrighted materials such as images and other audiovisual materials, graphs, charts, testing instruments, etc. is published or otherwise made publicly available, there are additional copyright considerations. Faculty can review the Copyright Basics tab for additional information.

In addition to citing their sources in order to avoid plagiarism, faculty will need to do one of the following. if their use of copyrighted material falls outside of the Fair Use Guidelines:

  1. Review the Fair Use Checklist (link below) to see if the use of a copyrighted item is fair. Keep the filled in checklist as due diligence.
  2. Link to or otherwise reference the work without embedding it in their publication/presentation
  3. Replace the material with something this is either in the public domain, has a Creative Commons license, or clearly gives permission for the intended use.
  4. Seek permission from the copyright holder or publisher of the work.

Evaluating Publisher & Publications

Evaluating Publishers & Publications

Not all publishers are the same.  Whether traditional subscription, open access, hybrid, or monographic, it's important to evaluate a publisher before agreeing to publish anything with them.

Use the Think-Check-Submit checklist. Review it before submitting work or agreeing to serve as a reviewer. A few minutes can save your research reputation! Identify predatory or low-quality journals.

Think Check Submit Graphic

For Journals:

  • Who is on the editorial board?  Are the editors clearly identified?  Are their email addresses and/or phone numbers provided directly on the publisher's site?
  • Can you confirm that the editors are actually serving in that role?  Do the editors have this position listed on their online CV?  Can you confirm with the editor-in-chief via email?
  • What is the acceptance rate of the journal? (Note: Some legitimate mega journals, such as PLOS ONE, accept any methodologically sound study that passes the scrutiny of peer-reviewers.  This is a new model that attempts to share good research regardless of trends in popularity or research interests, but mega journals should be closely evaluated for quality leadership, editors, reviewers, etc.  Not all mega journals are of the same quality.)
  • Who founded the journal?  Who owns it/runs it now?  Do they have an academic background?
  • Can you retain your copyright, or any subset of copyrights you want to keep, to your work?  For example, can you use the publication in presentations, in courses, in future publications if revised and expanded?  Can you add it to your own site, or archive a copy in an online archive/repository?
  • Are there clear guidelines for authors, including fees to authors?  Legitimate publishers will be upfront with their publication practices.  For authors, there should be no surprises or uncertainty about a publisher's procedures.

For Monographs:

  • Who is on the editorial board?  Are the editors clearly identified?  Are their email addresses and/or phone numbers provided directly on the publisher's site?
  • Can you confirm that the editor is actually serving in that role?  Does the editor have this position listed on their online CV?  Can you confirm with the editor via email?
  • Who founded the publishing house?  Who owns it/runs it now?  Do they have an academic background?
  • Are there clear guidelines for authors?  Legitimate publishers will be upfront with their publication practices.  For authors, there should be no surprises or uncertainty about a publisher's procedures.

Find Reputable Jounals to Submit Articles for Publication

Interested in publishing an article or book?  Below are resources to assist in finding a reputable journal to publish an article.

Journal Evaluation Tool - Steps to evaluate journals using a rubric to assist in determining if the publication is a good choice. Created by librarians from Loyola Marymount University.

Change the Contract to Keep the Copyright

Many authors want to keep their rights as an author.  Review these resources to gain knowledge regarding the publisher's contract and the ability to make changes to a binding contract.

Avoid Book Publishing Contract Mistakes

  • Own the rights to your book.  Do not give up ownership.
  • Do not give your rights to a publisher with them paying you a percentage. 
  • Publishers can sell your book to other companies and make changes to your book without permission.
  • Non-Compete Clause:
    • is meant to make sure that you do not directly compete with their book by putting out another book with a competing publisher. They could claim it damaged their book sales.
    • this clause can keep you from writing future books.
  • Liability Clause:
    • This can keep you from releasing another book for 1-2 years.
  • Define the publisher and author rights:
    • Ambiguity is your enemy.
    • "Reasonable and customary expenses" clearly define what that means.
  • Non-Negotiable Contracts:
    • Means "take it as it is or walk away".
    • Does the publisher value the relationship with the author?
      • Set up a payment schedule with penalties for late payments.
  • Right of First Refusal Clause:
    • The publisher states that your next book or subsequent books must be submitted to the publisher before you can submit them anywhere else.
    • If it is included, there needs to be a term stated such as 60 or 90 days for the publisher to accept or reject the book.
  • Early Termination Clause/Termination & Reversion Rights:
    • If the decision is made to leave the publisher, there may be an early termination fee.  This could be hundreds to thousands of dollars.
    • Create goals for sales of books per month.  If goals are not met then the book becomes "out of print" and rights transfer back to you. (eg. 20 books/month for a three-month window).  If the publisher does not sell that many copies, the book becomes out of print and right to revert back to you.  Do not allow amortization of book sales over time.
    • The time frame for a publisher to publish a book, usually 18 months after signing the contract.  If the publisher does not publish it within 18 months, reverts back to you.
    • Make sure no matter what, the contract states that rights revert back to you at the end of e.g. 3, 4, or 5 years.

How to Turn Your Thesis or Dissertation into a Journal Article

We created the Submitting Dissertations and Theses site for Graduate students.  Please refer to this site for the latest up-to-date information on submitting your dissertation, thesis, or project as required to complete your program. Scholarly Communications has created a tutorial on the submission process.  You may view it here

To assist in the process of creating a thesis or dissertation, the following article can give the student information to consider. Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis, Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities is a manual that is intended to help students learn and understand the copyright issues relevant to graduate works.

After completing a large research project you may want to share your research in a published article.  Here are some resources to assist in this process.