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Author Rights to Published Works

The rights you retain for each article you publish vary by journal. When you sign the author agreement to publish, read it carefully, because this is where you make the decision about what rights to grant to the publisher. The following excerpt from the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) helps you know your rights:

The author is the copyright holder.

As the author of a work, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.

Assigning your rights matters.

Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law.

The copyright holder controls the work.

Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others. This is the compromise that the SPARC Author Addendum helps you to achieve.

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