I Got 99 Publishing Problems and Copyright Is One of Them: Intellectual Property Journals

by Raizel Liebler

Editor’s Note: This is a new series based around common copyright and publishing problems. Hopefully, this post will change policies of some of these journals — and therefore the information will be updated at least yearly. The first post in this series focused on top law journals

So how do the top 25 intellectual property journals do presenting to authors whether they will be signing over their copyright to published articles? Very badly.

Only four of the journals, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, Duke Law & Technology Review, and Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, state that authors retain copyright in their articles. An additional two to four journals state that the journal retains copyright.

Both Berkeley Technology Law Journal and Duke Law & Technology Review have their actual author agreements available for the public (and potential authors) to read.

It seems like Columbia Science and Technology Law Review should have their agreement on their website, based on the statement from the Editor-in-Chief from 2008-2009:

we’ve refined our author agreement (already very liberal) to explicitly ensure that authors retain their copyrights, and we’re making our agreement public on our website. At the same time, we’re also embracing open publication, formally putting our articles under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives license, and allowing our authors to distribute themselves under even more liberal licenses if they so choose.

But I wasn’t able to find a copy of the actual author agreement — even by searching archive.org. And the journal is listed without complete information on the Sherpa/Romeo open access database.

However, there is this great video by Luis Villa, editor-in-chief of the 10th Volume of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, about the journal’s switch to open access — featured on Columbia University’s Scholarly Communication page. This video helps to explain open access, citation counts, and contract principles!

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVDyTUAWGjg”]

Perhaps this is an issue due to the turnover of student editors, but the lack of ability to show how even one IP journal moved from closed access to open access, plus full author rights with a publicly available contract is disappointing.

Now we know that authors in most instances need to wait for acceptance of their articles with both top law journals and top IP law journals before seeing what the contract terms are.

But what is the impact on the public to be able to access these articles? The next post will focus on open access and archiving of issues of law reviews.


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