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Publishing Your Research: Copyright/Citing

Guide to Getting Published

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a set of laws designed to protect original works of authorship in a tangible form of expression. These laws offer copyright owners’ protection over how their work is reused.    


  • exists from the moment of creation and lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years
  • you do not need the © on the work for the copyright to exist
  • to enforce © you need to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office

Requirements for Copyright Protection

  • ‚Äčit must contain a little originality
  • It must be at least a little creative
  • it must be fixed or recorded in a physical format

The owner of the Copyright, has

  • the right to distribute the work
  • the right to reproduce the work
  • the right to prepare derivative works
  • the right to perform or display the work
  • the right to license any of the above to others

What is Fair Use?

The Four Factors of Fair Use

The four factors judges consider are:

  • Purpose and character of your use - Is it of commercial nature or for nonprofit educational purposes? Non-profit educational use is the easiest to cover under fair use.
  • Nature of the copyrighted work - Factual or scientific materials fit better under fair use than creative works such as fiction, poetry, etc.
  • Amount and substantiality of the portion taken - The greater the work, the less likely it is to be fair use.
  • Effect of the use upon the potential market.- Can you easily purchase the copies you need? Are you repeatedly using something under fair use when you should be paying royalties?

Any determination of Fair Use must take all FOUR factors into consideration. U.S. Copyright FAQ.

Fair Use Checklists

Columbia University Libraries Copyright Advisory Services

Cornell Copyright Information Center 

University of Chicago Copyright Information Center

What Are Citations?

Your use of other resources in your research must be acknowledged and referenced. There are many citation styles to choose from. Please see our Scholarly Writing & Citing guide for examples.

How to manage your references/citations?

A critical part of the research process is keeping track of where you found a particular idea, picture, fact, or quote so you can properly cite it in your work according to an accepted style. Reference management software programs are tools to help you do this easily and efficiently.  The most popular reference management tools aer EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero.  The Carpenter Library offers training and support for EndNote (with limited support for Zotero and Mendeley).

More Resources

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