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Publishing your work

Who owns copyright in your work?

Before you consider publishing, it's important you know who owns the copyright in your work. It may not be you, and you may need to seek permission from others before you can publish.

The following can affect who owns copyright in your work:

  • employment contracts
  • funding or research contracts
  • collaborating with others

Content like graphs, diagrams, maps and images may also have different copyright owners.

The transfer of rights and open access

When you publish, you transfer certain rights as copyright holder to the publisher, such as the right to copy and communicate the work. When you make something open access, you are transferring certain rights to reuse the work to everyone.

The below video explains how this works in detail, and will give you a better understanding before entering into a publishing agreement.

Choosing the right publisher

Pick a publisher that’s a good fit for your work. The following questions may help guide your decision:

  • What format should you publish in?
  • Do they have an open access policy?
  • Will they let you put a copy in your institutional research repository?
  • Do they have a publishing arm in other countries where you might like your work to be distributed?
  • Can you present your research at a conference, and publish in conference proceedings?
  • Can you make revisions or adaptations in the future?

Understanding your contract

You should always read your contract carefully and ensure you understand the terms used.

Negotiating your contract

Sell your request. In one email, you should convey:

  • who you are
  • what your research is about
  • what you want to do with it
  • what rights you want changed in the contract
  • why those rights are important to you and your research.

Be prepared to be flexible, reasonable to offers, and open to further discussion as sometimes a few exchanges are required.

Contact the publisher directly instead of using their online submission form if the form doesn't suit your needs.

Keep copies of all correspondence and contracts which you may need in the future.

I've already published part of my work

If you've already published chapters or parts of your work, and now want to publish the whole work, check your publishing contracts to determine:

  • rights you may have granted to your original publisher
  • restrictions on your ability to publish elsewhere
  • conditions on when you republish work
  • fees that may apply to re-publishing work.

Contact your original publisher if you're not sure what your contract allows you to do.

Creative Commons

Many open access publications and publishers use Creative Commons licensing for their journals. Not all open access journals use rigorous peer review processes like traditional publishers, so it's important you research where you plan to publish.

Some publishers may refuse to publish your work if it's already licensed under Creative Commons. If you have a publisher in mind, you may want to review their policies on open access and Creative Commons.

Publishing through Deakin

If you are publishing your work through Deakin University, you can obtain a Deakin ISBN. Contact the Copyright Office for more information.

If you are publishing a serial or recurring publication, please contact the National Library of Australia to apply for an ISSN.

Publishing teaching material

Teaching material created while employed at Deakin is owned by Deakin. Before you publish teaching material, you need permission.

Non-commercial purposes

Contact the Copyright Office who will check:

  • your intended publication
  • an appropriate copyright statement is included

Deakin rarely refuses requests.

Commercial purposes

If you want to publish teaching material for commercial purposes, like a commercially available textbook, contact the DVC Education along with Deakin Research and Industry to request permission.

Get in touch

The Copyright Team provides copyright help to everyone within Deakin. We manage Deakin University copyright and external requests to use University works.