Time was when you published an article in a journal that was circulated in print, requiring scholars and researchers to find a library that subscribed to the journal or secure a paper photocopy via interlibrary loan. Issues of copyrights and access were relatively simple–but limited.
Those days are gone.
Now your journal article may be published in print, but it is often pre-published in a digital medium and later archived in one or more of a variety of digital formats. It will most frequently be accessed or recirculated in a digital format.
So what does this mean to your rights as the author?
The British SHERPA organization (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) has created the RoMEO database (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving) to help authors determine the policies of the journals in which they publish their articles.
SHERPA also maintains the OpenDOAR database, the worldwide Directory of Open Access Repositories.