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V.O.L. Journals Guide

Copyright and License Policies

A key understanding in partnering with V.O.L. Journals is that UT Libraries is not the publisher of the journals but the host of the journals. All decisions about accepting and publishing submissions are made by the reviewers and editors who serve on the journal. Therefore, publishing policies should be up to the individual journals and those responsible for them.
Secondly, V.O.L. Journals works exclusively with open access journals. The goal of Scholarly Publishing at UT is to help authors share their work with a wide audience without unnecessarily relinquishing their copyright. Neither the Libraries nor UT wants to be the copyright holder of these articles, and so we strongly recommend one of two options for a journal’s publishing agreement with an author:

  1. Author retains copyright and licenses the journal to publish the work. 

  2. Author retains copyright to the article and licenses the article under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

The main difference between the two author rights options is that reuse is allowed by default in #2, but only by permission of the author in #1. In the first instance, anyone wanting to distribute or reprint the article, include it in a course reader, or otherwise reuse it needs permission of the author. In the second instance, anyone wanting to reuse the article can do so without contacting the author so long as they attribute the article to the author (and journal, if you add that provision). 
Note that we can add language to either #1 or #2 above to permit reuse without contacting the author only if the use is for non-commercial educational purposes. 

With either of these options, journals typically ask for the following conditions:

  • That any reuse, reprinting, etc. acknowledge not just the author but that the article was published in this journal
  • That the author confirm that the work has not appeared in other journals or been previously published (unless approved by the editors). This saves you from facing copyright violations and also makes certain that you are known as the source for the version of record.

You may wish to view example policies for copyright/author rights by V.O.L. Journals Gamut and Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings


Editor Best Practices

Guidelines published by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) are an invaluable resource to journal editors worldwide. COPE provides guidance on topics such as peer review manipulation, potential authorship problems, and suggested organization for editorial boards. We highly recommend you browse the various entries on COPE's Guidelines page.

To keep editing practices transparent and honest, COPE believes that "journals and publishers should have robust and well described, publicly documented practices in all of the following areas for their journals": 

  • Allegations of misconduct
  • Authorship and contributorship
  • Complaints and appeals
  • Conflicts of interest / Competing interests
  • Data and reproducibility
  • Ethical oversight
  • Intellectual property
  • Journal management
  • Peer review processes
  • Post-publication discussions and corrections

On COPE's website, you can read in depth about these 10 Core Practices.

We recommend that you also review:

  1. COPE's "General Approach to Pub Ethics," an overview of how to organize the editor's office to comply with COPE guidelines.
  2. COPE's Case Studies, to gain awareness of some of the concerns and decisions you may face as an editor. Their “Case” section presents questions that editors, authors, and reviewers have sent to COPE for guidance on how to proceed when there are authorship disputes, discovery of duplicate publications, and so on.

Publication Ethics Statement

A Publication Ethics Statement explains how your journal responds to allegations of academic misconduct. The COPE resources above can help you write this statement, which you will then display on your journal home page in TRACE. Research ethics statements vary from discipline to discipline, so we recommend looking at the ethics statements for a few of the top journals in your field and following their lead. They are likely following COPE guidelines or other industry standards.