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Scholarly Communication (Health Sciences)

What would I re-use and how?

You might re-use, copy, or build upon another person's scholarly work in several ways, and you can also take steps to ensure your work is available for viewing by the widest audience and able to be re-used, copied, or built upon as you choose. Considering these different lenses of activities will help you.

Re-using and sharing materials in the classroom (physical, virtual, or recorded):

  • If you are a student and re-using other's text or images in work you create for a class at USC, typically using citations is all that is required. Be sure to cite all the material that another person created, even if you are only paraphrasing their words or using a portion of an image. Review the Library's Citation Guide for many commonly used citation styles.
  • If you are a faculty member wishing to present or share text, images, data, graphs, etc. from other's publications within your classes, the same citation rules apply. Additionally, read the Copyright guide to learn about Fair Use rules for all American classrooms, special rules for classroom sharing negotiated by the USC Libraries for materials we have licensed through our Course Reserves system, and tips for how to share library-licensed materials with students.
  • If you are a faculty member and wish to present or share text, images, data, graphs, etc. that you created and published, you were the copyright holder when the object was created. However, you need to review the copyright agreement forms you signed when the work was published. Determine if you are still the owner of the copyright for this work or if you have given it to the publisher and must seek permission to re-use it, display it, or share it.

Re-using materials in publications and at conferences:

  • If you are a faculty member or student wishing to share text, images, data, graphs, etc. that you did not make, in a presentation at a conference or in any type of publication (even online-only), review the Copyright guide for Fair Use calculators and an overview of copyright, to determine if you need to contact the rightsholder and obtain permission for your use.

License materials you create to allow re-use:

  • Review the Copyright guide to learn how to license your work under Creative Commons licenses, which allow for wider re-use than common licenses used by publishers.
  • Publish your work in Open Access formats, which do not require subscription fees to view, increasing the potential audience for your work. Review the Open Access Research Guide for agreements made by the USC Libraries for discounts on publication charges, find Open Access publications, and learn to publish your work in this format.

Negotiate for your rights when publishing

You can negotiate for the rights you want or need when publishing journal articles.

Authors typically sign a copyright transfer form or copyright agreement form when submitting an article. These commonly prohibit you from activities you might want or need to do: depositing copies of the article into repositories like PubMed Central; sending copies to colleagues; sharing a copy on your own website; re-using images or substantial parts of the text in any other publications or presentations. Open Access publishing schemes typically allow authors to retain more rights relating to deposit, sharing, and re-use.

You can negotiate the copyright agreement form with the publisher to retain the rights you want to keep. If the funder of your research requires you to comply with Public Access Mandates to deposit your publications into a repository, you MUST negotiate with publishers to ensure you have the right to do this. One way to start this negotiation is to provide a addendum to the publisher-provided copyright form.