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Open Access

A brief guide about open access

Do you know about open access at JMU?

There are many opportunities to engage with open access at JMU. Did you know that the Libraries hosts several open access journals, here at JMU? And that we have workshops to learn how to publish an open access book? We also maintain an institutional repository for open access to articles, posters, and other scholarly and creative works. Read on to learn more!

Open Access Journals at JMU

JMU Libraries publishes a number of influential peer-reviewed journals that have editorial board connections to the university. Journals include the following.

All journals

Book Publishing at JMU

JMU Libraries supports the Pressbooks platform for monographs. Learn more about how Pressbooks is an easy-to-use tool for creating online books and interactive course materials. JMU Libraries offers the “EDU version” of Pressbooks, which includes features that support teaching and learning. The final publication might be online, print-on-demand, and/or openly licensed. The following uses are encouraged:

  • Textbooks
  • Open access books
  • White papers and technical report

Visit our growing catalog of JMU publications.

Pub 101

Join Publishing at JMU: Pub 101 and learn how to coordinate an open access publishing project with tools and support from JMU Libraries. This self-paced Canvas course offers a series of modules that you can take in any order, at any time. In addition to textbook design, you’ll learn how to manage a publishing project (including editing and intellectual property considerations) with a focus on workflows in Pressbooks. Learn more or sign up at any time.

What is JMU Scholarly Commons?

JMU Scholarly Commons is a resource for sharing the scholarship and activities of the James Madison University community. These materials include papers, presentations, data sets, images, and multimedia items.

Browse or search JMU Scholarly Commons


Retaining Your Author Rights

At the point of publication, a limited number of possibilities exist for the copyright status of the work:

  • The author has retained their copyright to the work, and is the copyright holder.
  • The author has retained copyright to the work, and has granted an exclusive or non-exclusive license to a third party, allowing the work to be disseminated.
  • The author has transferred their copyright in the work to a third party, and hence is no longer a copyright holder.
  • The author has released the work into the public domain.

Copyright reversion

In some circumstances, an author's contract with a publisher causes the copyright to return from the publisher to the author after a certain period of time, or when the publisher ceases to publish the work. This situation most frequently arises with books that fall "out of print." Whether the possibility for copyright reversion exists, and the circumstances under which it can take place, will be specified in the publishing agreement or copyright transfer agreement the author signs with the publisher. For this reason, it is very important that authors retain a copy of their publishing agreement. It is often difficult or sometimes impossible to obtain another copy of the agreement, years after the work was published.

Retaining your rights

There are methods for you to retain your rights while disseminating your scholarship. If working with publisher, you may wish to negotiate your copyright with an author addendum. This addendum from SPARC provides a good starting point for conversations with the publisher.