1. A work is copyrighted when it is in a "fixed, tangible medium." An author has copyright to his or her work, and all of the rights associated with it, including assigning copyright to another entity, such as a publisher.
2. Traditionally, submitting an article for publication requires transfer of copyright to the publisher; consider an addendum to the publication agreement in order to retain some or all of your rights, including re-use of portions of the work, depositing it in an institutional repository, the right to place it on course websites.
3. Consider an Open Access Publisher and adding a Creative Commons license to your work.
4. For works based on NIH-funded research, authors must retain the right deposit a copy of the final manuscript (pre-publication is acceptable) in PubMed Central. This is a requirement of the NIH Public Access Policy.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work along copyright and enable creators to modify their copyright terms to best suit their needs.
If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work you’ve created, you should consider publishing it under a Creative Commons license. CC gives you flexibility (for example, you can choose to allow only non-commercial uses) and protects the people who use your work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions you have specified.
Creative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons offers six licenses under which creators can license their work.