ERIC Number: EJ914911
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
How to Publish without Financially Perishing
Mock, Rodney P.; Savage, Arline; Simkin, Mark G.
Academe, v97 n1 p34-37 Jan-Feb 2011
Publication agreements vary by publisher and sometimes by contract as well. A number of such agreements now also include indemnity clauses. "Indemnifying a publisher" means agreeing to pay for any loss, damage, or liability incurred by the publisher, or it can mean that the publisher has the right to claim reimbursement for its loss, damage, or liability from the author. Academic journals include indemnity clauses in their publication agreements to protect themselves from third-party claims against themselves or their authors. Indemnity clauses essentially require authors to pay the legal fees and attendant expenses of any lawsuits against the publisher attributable to their published work. Depending on the particular contract, this could mean that, as soon as a publisher receives a legal complaint and hires an expensive law firm that specializes in such cases for its defense, the author is responsible for the legal costs. Whether the lawsuit has merit is immaterial--the author may foot the bill either way. In short, authors signing publication agreements with indemnity clauses expose themselves to litigation expenses that may not be recoverable even if they win the lawsuit. Ironically, in the worst case, an author publishes "and" perishes! The increase in liability exposure from publication agreements is especially important to university faculty for several reasons. One is the fact that "research and publication" is a formal part of many job descriptions and thus a condition of employment--a condition that generally requires signed publication agreements. Another is that university authors often deal with controversial subjects that raise the likelihood of litigation and therefore the importance of liability shifting in publication agreements. A third reason is that the presence of indemnity clauses in these agreements even further increases the likelihood that faculty members might settle for reasons having little to do with the merits of a lawsuit. Finally, professors with advanced degrees are presumably intelligent parties who understand contractual obligations: a judge or jury is less likely to believe them if they claim, "I didn't realize what I was signing." Academic publication contracts entail a significant financial gamble especially when they contain indemnity provisions. This article suggests several things authors can do to reduce their exposure.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Faculty Publishing, Court Litigation, Legal Responsibility, Contracts, Faculty College Relationship
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.aaup.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A