Technical Publications FAQs

Copyrights

Why does Fermilab need to sign a copyright form when I submit a paper to a journal for publication or to a conference?

The signing of a copyright form, by a Fermilab authorized representative, gives Fermilab the right to freely host the paper without copyright infringement.

How could Fermilab hosting a publication on our website break U.S. copyright law?

We are only allowed to host a “preprint” version that does not have a publishers logos, markings or the copyright information anywhere on it.  If we host a “published” version with all of the logos, etc., on our website, the U.S. copyright laws give the publisher the right to sue Fermilab, unless the paper was published as open access or there is some other special consideration from a publisher.

Does a copyright form have to have be signed for a technical memo?

If you only submit the technical memo to Fermilab, there is no copyright form required. If you submit it to journals and/or conferences that do require a copyright form, a Fermilab authorized representative would need to sign it.

Can I submit a paper to Fermilab that was published somewhere else, like a journal or from arXiv.org?

It would depend upon the clauses listed in the copyright form for that paper.  Each copyright form is unique to a publisher or conference, which is why you are asked to submit the form to Fermilab’s Technical Publication Office, as we know what clauses give us the right to make to paper available on our website. Papers published at arXiv.org can be used as they have no copyright restrictions.

What if the submitting Author is from another institution and the work was done at Fermilab?

If the submitting author is from another institution and the work was done at Fermilab, then Fermilab’s Technical Publications Administrator techpubs@fnal.gov needs to sign the copyright form as this is in our DOE contract. It is the submitting author’s responsibility to request a Fermilab report number and upload the paper.  If the submitting author fails to do this, then the Fermilab author is required to do this.

What if the submitting Author is from another DOE institution and the work was not done at Fermilab?

If the submitting author is from another DOE institution and the work was not done at Fermilab, the submitting author should sign the copyright form, as other DOE institutions have similar rules. It is the Fermilab author’s responsibility to request a Fermilab report number and upload the paper .

What if the work was done elsewhere and has a Fermilab author listed on it?

If the work was done elsewhere and has a Fermilab author listed on it, Fermilab does not need to sign the copyright form, but it is the Fermilab author’s responsibility to request a Fermilab report number and upload it.

What if the work is published in a journal?

If the work is published in a journal, it is the Fermilab author’s responsibility to upload, or email to techpubs@fnal.gov the “Accepted” preprint version of the work. It is a DOE mandated requirement that Fermilab collects these versions and make them freely available to all.

Patents

How does something become protected as “intellectual property” at Fermilab?

If you think that you might have intellectual property that could be patentable, you should contact the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer located in the IARC Building 3rd floor  http://partnerships.fnal.gov/ 

How is this different from a copyright or a patent?

A copyright protects Fermilab’s right to host the paper on our website.  A patent protects the invention/intellectual property from other people and/or companies stealing your invention/intellectual property to make money from it.

Books and Book chapters

Do Books and Book chapters need to be submitted to Fermilab?

Books are typically written as part of a contract between an author and a publisher and all questions should be sent to Cherrie Schmidt, Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer, http://partnerships.fnal.gov/  or Beth Fanscali, Legal Office, fancsali@fnal.gov

What about Royalty payments?

A royalty payment for a book is essentially the same as “outside employment” – you are getting paid to perform a job. If you write a book that is completely separate from your “day job” (e.g. how to build a birdhouse) and you do all the writing on your own time and with your own resources, then you can typically be approved for such outside employment and may negotiate on your own for royalties, if you wish.

But, if you are writing a book based on the work that the government (or Fermi Research Alliance, LLC) funded you to do, it would be inappropriate for you to collect royalties on top of your salary. Using the “outside employment” analogy, Fermilab would not approve such outside employment since it would be essentially the same work that you are being paid to do by Fermilab.

In either case, you should submit the copyright form to Cherri Schmidt at cherri@fnal.gov in the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer, or Beth Fanscali at fancsali@fnal.gov in the Legal Office.