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Scholarly Communication: Author's RIghts

Negotiate Your Agreements

You might be giving away your full copyright when signing your publisher agreement. Negotiate your publishing agreements to retain more of your rights as an author.

Terms to Know

Copyright: Copyright law protects creative works. Examples of types of works protected by copyright law include books, journal articles, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, audio & visual recordings, and software programs.

Within copyright you have five rights: the right to reproduce copies, make derivative works, distribute copies, and perform or display the work publicly. 

Embargo:  A period of time where the publication or dissemination of a work is delayed.

Creative Commons Licenses:  A Creative Commons license can apply to all works that are protected by copyright law. With a Creative Commons license you can communicate to others how they can use your work while retaining full copyright of your work. 

Publisher Policies

Major publishers have standard copyright and archiving policies. If your publisher is not included in the list below, you can search SHERPA/RoMEO by journal or publisher, or consult the journal's website.

Your Author Rights

You know what you write, but do you know your rights?

  • You own what you create. As the author of a work you are automatically the copyright holder. Copyright registration is not required.
  • You retain your copyright unless you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement, such as a journal publisher.
  • The copyright holder controls the work. 
  • Transferring copyright doesn't have to be "all or nothing."
  • Giving your copyright to a publisher could hinder your future uses of your work.

Creative Commons Licenses

Images shows the three types of Creative Commons licensesWith a Creative Commons license you keep your copyright, but communicate to others how they can use your work.

For example:

Are you fine with someone using your work for any purpose (classroom teaching, translation, sharing online), but don't want them to be able to use it commercially? CC-BY-NC is the right license for you.

Do you want to allow others to copy, distribute, remix, or perform your work without restrictions? Use CC-BY!

Perhaps you're fine with your research being copied, distributed, and shared, but don't want it to be translated or used for commercial purposes. Then CC-BY-ND is the right license for you.

This Creative Commons license generator will help you choose what Creative Commons license you need.

Author Rights & Repositories