Scholarship Copyright

Text graphic. A the top: Scholars protect your copyright. At the bottom: manage your Google Scholar. Sign up with Use ResearchGate or Academia.eduToday I found out that one of my publications, a peer-reviewed conference paper which is available free online, was published without my consent on a journal that I’ve never submitted to. What makes matters worse is that the journal is charging $48 for access for a paper that is freely available on the original conference website! The university that I’m affiliated with doesn’t have a subscription to this journal so I can’t check what the published piece looks like. I can’t check if my work has been edited in any way.

I’ve written to the original editor of the conference proceedings to clarify things, but it got me thinking about how confusing academic publications have increasingly become. It can be tough to sort out what’s happening to our content as previous papers are cross-published online. For junior scholars, it can be tricky to work out which journals have a reputable editorial board. So what can we do to protect our work?

Tips to protect our work

Here’s some general advice:

Use Google Scholar: This was how I realised that the journal had poached my content. It works by pulling web content. You can manually add references but can’t add links. You need to upload your papers to one of the services below for Google Scholar to be able to add a link to your work. Here’s some good tips on how to improve your Google Scholar profile.

Sign up with a copyright agency: Australia’s Copyright Agency offers a free service where they will help you fight copyright infringements. They have helped a friend of mine get royalties for books and teaching materials that republished my friend’s research without payment. Australians can get help here.

Join a Researcher Network: I belong to both ResearchGate and I use the former very little, but most of my papers are up there. It is a free membership-based system to share papers and answer academic questions from other researchers. is widely used, and I have my papers on there too (I joined that before ResearchGate). A few years a go there were concerns about their terms and conditions. I enjoy it as an alternative way to keep up with what researchers are publishing. Both services help your Google Scholar profile, and most importantly help you keep control of your public publishing profile.

Has something like this happened to you? Do you have other tips to help researchers protect their work?

15 thoughts on “Scholarship Copyright

  1. Jonah Miller Let me know how you go! The good thing about ResearchGate is that you can link to co-authors and then you keep up with what their networks are reading and posting about. It’s good for me as I keep up with researchers I haven’t worked with in years. 


  2. Harry Tuttle Oh no. I’ve not heard of spam conferences! Do they physically happen or are they just money making scams? Thanks for your encouragement; I’ll post again with any tips once this is resolved.


  3. It really sucks that someone would steal your work.

    You might fire off DMCA notices to both the publisher and the journal. Interestingly, you can also send notices to the journal’s hosting service, who will pressure the journal to remove your content or be un-hosted, and search services like Google, who may block the offender from search indexing, effectively black-hole-ing them into internet obscurity.

    Here is one guide (of many) to the DMCA process:


  4. Zuleyka Zevallos spam conferences happen. They put up a list of invited speakers you know on a nice web site – normally they don’t ask the speaker or may have duped them into accepting an invitation. They usually combine a few wildly different themes. You turn up and there is nothing… A while ago some people were listing these publicly to help but haven’t seen many recently – perhaps they’ve moved on to other fields.


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