Module 11: The Journal Editor and the Legal Issues of Publishing


This module reviews the fundamental relationship between copyright and journal publishing, including the use of creative common licenses. It provides greater understanding of what copyright means, offers guidelines, policies , and their underlying principles. It also reviews the importance of identifying and assigning copyright and understanding its implications for journals.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this learning module, you will:

  • Have greater awareness of what copyright means, the importance of identifying and assigning copyright, and understanding its implications
  • Demonstrate increased understanding of copyright law and how it should be integrated within the journal publishing process
  • Understand how to best balance the rights of authors, readers, and the journal


Intellectual property rights ensure that creators are rewarded for their intellectual effort, but also need to be balanced with the rights of users so that the progress of scholarly knowledge is not impeded. Balancing these needs means that the management of copyright needs to be done carefully.

Within journal publishing, management of copyright is governed by both legal requirements and good practice. Editors need to be aware of copyright and what they need to watch out for (because authors are not always as knowledgeable as they could be). Equally editors need to be sensitive to the rights of authors and ensure that they respect them and their works and do not abuse the power of the journal when making publishing agreements. The power of the journal is vested in the fact that most scholarly authors need to publish for their careers, and you should remember the earlier module on dealing respectfully with authors whilst always working within the law and following best practices for scholarly publishing.


Further Reading

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